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Nigeria has not recorded any wild polio case for 25 months, says NPHCDA

By Chukwuma Muanya
25 October 2018   |   4:00 am
For the first time, Nigeria has not recorded any case of Wild Polio Virus (WPV) Type 1 in more than 25 months. The last case of WPV1 was from Borno State with onset of paralysis on August 21, 2016.

Dr. Faisal Shuaib

For the first time, Nigeria has not recorded any case of Wild Polio Virus (WPV) Type 1 in more than 25 months. The last case of WPV1 was from Borno State with onset of paralysis on August 21, 2016.

This means that the country may be certified polio-free next year if the situation remains the same.

But experts are worried that there may be a resurgence of the virus because of children in unsafe areas of Borno State held by the insurgents that have not been reached and the continued circulation of vaccine derived polio virus due to poor routine immunisation and low immunity in most of the northern states.

A consultant medical doctor, public health specialist and Executive Director of the National Primary Health Care Development Agency (NPHCDA), Dr. Faisal Shuaib, told The Guardian, yesterday, on the occasion of the World Polio Day (WPD): “Nigeria is no longer transmitting the wild polio virus. Indeed, we have gone over 25 months without a single case. The only areas where we need to confirm absence of transmission is the insecure areas of Borno State.

“The insecurity makes it impossible for health workers to gain unfettered access. However, using innovative means, we are able to conduct limited surveillance for polio cases. So far, our search has not come up with any case in these areas and the whole of Nigeria for over 25 months.

Shuaib said to further boost population immunity, the Federal Government and development partners have scheduled a Fractional Injectable Polio Vaccine (fIPV) campaign across 92 targeted local councils in November 2018, adding: “It is also gratifying to note the current political commitment towards vaccine procurement and strengthening RI in the country.”

The Nigeria/GAVI joint investment of over $3 billion in support of RI and health system strengthening is an unprecedented and commendable development, which has huge potential towards improving immunisation and primary health care quality over the next 10 years.

“Furthermore, the recent resolution of the Nigeria Governors Forum to ensure increased funding for primary health care, including immunisation, is yet another laudable effort of the political leaders in the country.

“The 2018 World Polio Day will therefore afford the National Primary Health Care Development Agency, donors, development partners and other stakeholders the opportunity to further sensitise our people, especially the political leaders on the need for sustained RI, polio supplemental immunisation activities as well as solicit for the support of parents and care givers. Our children require parents and care-givers to demand on their behalf effective vaccines given free of charge through routine and supplemental means. This is a fundamental basic right of all our children.”