As Nigeria marks two straight years without any outbreak of the wild polio virus, President Muhammadu Buhari has promised that the Federal Government and its partners would not rest on their oars but continue to provide the needed oversight and resources to achieve total polio eradication by 2017.
Also, the World Health Organisation (WHO), the United Nation’s Children Fund (UNICEF) and other partners leading the effort to eradicate polio under the platform of the Global Polio Eradication Initiative (GPEI) are urging Nigeria to be on the alert for any sign of the virus through heightened surveillance especially in the border areas.
After years of devastation, Nigeria was on July 2015 removed from the list of polio-endemic countries by the World Health Organization, leaving only
Afghanistan and Pakistan in list that had 125 in 1988.
Executive Director of the National Primary Health Care Development Agency (NPHCDA), Dr. Ado Muhammad, said Nigeria was increasing environmental surveillance sites and community informants across the country.
Acting WHO Representative for Nigeria, Dr. Rex Mapazanje, noted that though the national laboratories have been vigilant in monitoring polio cases, the country must continue to be at alert for any sign of the virus through heightened surveillance, particularly in the vulnerable populations including insurgency-hit areas of North-East and the adjoining areas of Cameroon, Chad and Niger.
Country Representative of UNICEF, Jean Gough, warned: “Achieving a polio-free Africa will bring us closer than ever to a polio-free world, but that success should not be taken for granted. We must continue to work together with all partners in particular with the traditional institutions at all levels to ensure we reach every child so we can relegate this paralysing disease to history forever.”
Executive Director, National Primary Health Care Development Agency (NPHCDA), Dr. Ado Muhammad, said investments to end polio across African and around the world are developing a lasting infrastructure and knowledge base that will help to improve the delivery of basic healthcare services and other life-saving vaccines, especially to people living in poor and hard to reach areas.
“All partners stressed the need for continued commitment from governments, civil society and donors to finish the job – for Nigeria, for Africa and for children everywhere.”