Nigeria To Vaccinate 32 Million Children In Fresh Fight Against Polio
TO enable the nation consolidate on the gains of interrupting the transmission of polio for two years, Nigeria will today commence a nationwide polio immunisation exercise.
The campaign, according to officials, will be undertaken in 11 polio vulnerable states of Bauchi, Borno, Jigawa, Kano, Kaduna, Katsina, Kebbi, Niger, Sokoto, Yobe and Zamfara. Executive Director of the National Primary
Health Care Development Agency (NPHCDA), Dr. Ado Muhammad, described the round of immunisation as unique, and that it would target all children aged zero to five years, irrespective of their previous immunisation status.
He said total of 32 million children are targeted during the campaign.
“It is pertinent to reiterate the fact that this is a great feat for our dear country, as it has taken us 17 years to get to achieve it. It is the result of sustained and steady progress in the polio eradication programme since 2013 when the number of cases of polio dropped from 122 in 2012 to 53 in 2013. The progress continued and by end of 2014, only six cases of Wild Polio Virus (WPV) were reported.
Since July 24, 2014, there has been no reported case of WPV in any part of Nigeria. However, this interruption of indigenous WPV transmission for over a year is only a major milestone to polio eradication, which is our end point,” Muhammad said.
He reiterated that Nigeria is not polio free yet and called attention to the need for the nation to sustain and also improve on the progress it has made so far to achieve polio eradication by 2017.
Meanwhile, the Director General of the World Health Organisation (WHO), Dr. Margaret Chan, is leading a team from the world body to Nigeria to formally delist Nigeria as a polio endemic country. The formal declaration is to be done before the leadership of the Federal Government.
Muhammad called on all caregivers to allow vaccinators into their homes to immunize their children against polio.
“I am therefore using this forum to once again solicit for the continued support of all Nigerians, especially the Press, to be advocates of continuous vaccination of our children of zero to five years with the oral polio vaccine until WHO certifies Nigeria a polio free country in 2017. We will be relying on you to continue to sensitise our people on the benefits of immunisation and the risk of non-vaccination as we cannot afford a reversal of the gains we have made,” he noted.
He went further to explain why the house-to-house vaccination of children against polio was continuous, stressing that it would boost population immunity of children zero to five years and achieve eradication status.
“Nigeria will continue to vaccinate these children irrespective of their previous immunisation status,” he added.