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Govt raises technical advisory group on immunisation

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Minister of Health, Alhassan

Minister of Health, Alhassan

•Nigeria records no polio case in 10 months

TO stop vaccine preventable diseases, the Federal Government has established a National Immunization Technical Advisory Group for the country.

The National Primary Health Care Development Agency (NPHCDA), in a statement, yesterday, said the group, which is to be inaugurated at a later date is chaired by a renowned medical epidemiologist, Prof. Emeritus Umaru Shehu.

Meanwhile, Minister of Health, Dr. Khaliru Alhassan, has expressed delight for having no single case of Wild Polio Virus (WPV) in the country since July last year.

Alhassan at the meeting of the committee held last week in Abuja, said if Nigeria did not report any polio case after July 2015, the country should be declared free of the virus by the World Health Organisation(WHO).

Nigeria, Pakistan and Afghanistan are the only three countries still endemic to polio. India was declared polio-free last year by the WHO.

The minister’s position was corroborated by the latest edition of Weekly Polio Update published yesterday by the Global Polio Eradication Initiative (GPEI), which said no new cases of wild poliovirus type 1 (WPV1) were reported in the past week and no cases have been reported in 2015.

According to the minister, membership of the Technical Advisory Group was drawn from indigenous specialists in public health, infectious diseases, pediatrics, pathology, pharmacology, social anthropology and communication experts in the country.

The objective of the committee, the minister explained, is to provide guidance for making evidence – based immunization related policy decisions, including choice of new vaccines and technologies and make recommendations towards improvement of existing programmes and schedules.

Alhassan explained that the NPHCDA would continue to take the lead on immunization’s decisions in Nigeria with support from developmental partners while the National Agency for Food and Drugs Administration (NAFDAC) would continue to regulate and control importation and manufacturing of vaccines in the country.
He commended the NPHCDA, its partners and other Primary Health Care stakeholders for the achievement of an unprecedented 90 per cent administrative coverage on routine immunization in Nigeria.

The GPEI report reads: “Nigeria’s total WPV1 case count for 2014 remains six. The most recent case had onset of paralysis on July 24 in Sumaila Local Government Area (LGA), southern Kano state.

“No new type 2 circulating vaccine-derived poliovirus (cVDPV2) cases were reported this week. The most recent case had onset of paralysis on November 16 in Barde Local Governmental Area of Yobe State. No cases have been reported in 2015. The total number of cVDPV2 cases for 2014 in Nigeria remains 30.

“Environmental sampling continues to boost surveillance, with cVDPV circulation last detected in March in Kaduna and Sokoto.

“National Immunization Days took place from April 25 – 28 using trivalent oral polio vaccine (OPV) in most of the country, bivalent OPV in the south-west and IPV in some areas of the north. Sub-National Immunization Days are scheduled for later this month.”


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