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Insurgency threatens Nigeria’s efforts to eradicate polio

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PHOTO: NAN

The Executive Secretary of National Primary Health Care Development Agency (NPHCDA), Dr. Faisal Shuaib, has said that Nigeria is regarded as a polio endemic country due to lack of access in some local government.

He stressed the need to improve access in some wards and local governments in the country in order to interrupt wild Poliovirus in the next 18 months warning that a single case of polio can distort all the efforts made so far.

Speaking at the 35th meeting of Expert Review Committee ERC meeting in Abuja, Shuaibu observed “if the country is able to interrupt polio in the next 18 months, then we have made considerable progress.”

He said, “If we don’t have access in some local government, wee are not making reasonable progress in this regards, as a single case of the wild Polio virus will distort all the efforts put in so far.”

“In another 18 months, if we are not interrupted by polio, Nigeria will be categorized as a country that have eradicated polio.”

According to him, “We cannot say that because we don’t have access to all the insurgent communities, we will be at a standstill “ We still have access problems in some local government like Dakua, Ngala and the population is over 160,000

The Executive Secretary further noted that between 2014-2016 Nigeria was free of wild poliovirus.

“We were almost rolling out the drums before we had that outbreak in 2016,and changed all the narrative “

He said the government approved N9.8 B to ensure that we have no case of wild poliovirus.

“We will ensure that all the eligible children are reached. We will also ensure that all the communities are reached with the vaccines.

“There is a threat that we may have the cases of wild polio virus. We will intensify all effort to ensure that the children are all vaccinated”.

“Its unbelievable, what pushing ahead can do. We want to ensure that the programme is independent of what is happening in the environment.”

Similarly, Shuaib noted that agency will ensure that life saving vaccines are available to the children, and ensure they have good nutrition.

“We are focusing on how to ensure that all eligible children are covered. If access is improved, we can eradicate polio in the country.

The chairman of the expert review committee, Prof. Oyewale Tomori said for Polio to be eliminated there should be political and personal will from the leaders in the country.

“Based on my expertise as the chairman of the expert review committee, we have not really done well, there should be political will and personal will.

Different governments have come with their political will. We should be putting ourselves into this work. We are not reaching the children, as we should, there are some areas where we do not have access. Even when we have access, we are not reaching the children, each of us are responsible, and we need that commitment to put in all the best in our health sector.

My generation has not really offered is much in our country. Some vaccinations are very far away from the people. Each of us is responsible for the state of decadence.

“My generation has no excuse to give back into the country, the younger generation have not really be benefitting from this country. When some of us speak, they do not listen to us, but when outsiders come they listen to them.

But when Bill Gates speaks, everyone is shouting, just because he has money. I am a Nigerian, and I am passionate about health care development. We should listen to experts from our country, and do the right thing.

“We should be asking pertinent questions on how we are able to bring back the Chibok and Dapchi girls, and apply the same mystery to eradicating polio in the country.”


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