Nigeria begins documentation for ARCC’s WPV-free certification
The Federal Government yesterday marked three years without a Wild Polio Virus (WPV) case in the country and expressed confidence that by March 2020 Nigeria would be certified as polio free.
Consequently, the country has commenced the process of documentation for the final certification by the Africa Regional Certification Commission (ARCC), the last WPV case being that of an isolated child in Borno State on August 21, 2016.
Executive Director of National Primary Health Care Development Agency (NPHCDA), Dr. Faisal Shuaib, disclosed this at a media briefing to mark Nigeria’s three years without WPV case in Abuja.
He noted that the documentation process involves detailed assemblage and review of surveillance, Routine Immunisation (RI) and Supplemental Immunisation Activities (SIAs) data by the National Certification Committee before submission of final documentation to ARCC in March 2020.
He added that if ARCC was satisfied with the country’s data, Nigeria would be certified WPV free, noting that three years without a reported case was a milestone for the nation’s polio eradication programme and the global community.
Shuaib also explained that in the last three years, no child has had paralysis due to WPV, adding that in 2016 when Nigeria had a polio outbreak, President Muhammadu Buhari released N9.8b for the agency to contain the scourge.
He pointed out that the NPHCDA and its partners responded swiftly, increased sensitivity of surveillance system and deployed innovative strategies to reach children, especially in inaccessible areas of Borno, Yobe and Adamawa states.
He said children were vaccinated through firewalling, international border vaccination, local transit vaccination, Nomadic, hospital, market and vaccinations at Internal Displaced Persons (IDPs) camps.
However, the World Health Organisation (WHO) has commenced the process of certifying Nigeria, as a polio-free country, since the country, Parkistan and Afghanistan remain the three countries with polio incident.
Speaking, Officer in Charge WHO, Dr. Clement Peter, said the next six months would be crucial for the country, adding that high routine immunisation coverage and quality surveillance remain critical in the build up to certification and post-certification.
Meanwhile, the Edo State Government yesterday said it has concluded arrangements to embark on Maternal, Newborn and Child Health Week (MNCHW) programme to immunise children from age 0-59 months.
The MNCHW programme, which is targeted at newborn babies, children, mothers and pregnant women, will hold from August 28 to September 1, 2019.
Addressing journalists ahead of the week, retired state Immunisation Officer, Mrs. Justina Aikhuele and State Health Educator, Ministry of Health, Mrs. Felicia Omokaro, said the MNCHW was designed to improve children and mothers’ wellbeing and reduce mortality rate in the state.