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Polio-Free Nigeria: Expert advises FG to adopt PPP to sustain status

By News Express on 30/09/2015

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A facial surgeon at the National Hospital, Abuja, Dr. Bayo Aluko-Olokun on Tuesday advised the Federal Government to seek public private partnership (PPP) to sustain the country’s polio-free status.

Aluko-Olokun told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Abuja that efforts should be made to produce the vaccines locally rather than relying on donor agencies to prevent similar diseases from ravaging the country.

NAN recalls that the World Health Organisation (WHO) had on Sept. 26 declared Nigeria as a non-endemic polio country.

The medical expert said the declaration was a call to the federal government to make strategic plans towards eradicating the disease totally and sustaining the effort.

He described the declaration as “just a technicality,” adding that Nigeria could only be truly certified as a polio free nation if no case was recorded in the next three years.

“I may be wrong but I stand corrected that the main reason why we failed in the first place was because of the poor level of sensitisation of citizens.

“We failed to convince our people to take the vaccine and this happened because we failed in our responsibility of making efforts to produce the vaccine locally.

“If you produce the vaccine for example in Kano, the man living in Kano will feel less suspicious of taking his child to be administered the vaccine.

“There is no reason why we should import most of the things we bring into the country. Production of this vaccine is not rocket science.

“Government should have insisted on producing it locally just as they should insist on producing most of the things we import into the country today.”

The surgeon said the country had enough manpower and resources to sustain the polio free status through construction of medical infrastructure and utilisation of personnel to produce the vaccine.

He said producing the vaccine in the country would also enable Nigeria become an exporter of the product especially to other third world countries.

“We have more than enough manpower and resources to carry out research and produce vaccines in the country. A lot of doctors graduate every year from various institutions in the country.

“Not more than a week ago, about 300 persons graduated from the Post Graduate Medical College of Nigeria.

“Some of the countries that produce this vaccine like Finland and Sweden do not even have as many medical personnel as we do in Nigeria yet these countries rarely import any product.”

He urged the government to work with the private sector through a public private partnership (PPP) and provide the enabling environment for the sector to function.

Besides, he advised the federal government to regulate the private companies who would be put in charge of producing the vaccine.

“I am happy that Nigeria has been declared polio free.

“But we should have seized the opportunity to discuss with these donor agencies the challenges that were encountered which slowed down the process of eradicating the disease.

“Government should have also asked for support in building medical infrastructure in the country especially in areas that were most vulnerable to the disease.

“Government needs to improve on sensitisation of citizens so as to give hope and courage. It is part of the game to declare us free so that we will be invigorated to maintain this stand.

“WHO may quickly make such declaration on an important country like Nigeria so as to encourage the government and people to make better efforts at preventing the disease.”

Aluko-Olokun urged the federal government to empower the National Agency for Food, Drugs Administration and Control (NAFDAC), the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) and the Nigeria Customs Service to make them perform optimally.

The surgeon said these agencies should be saddled with the responsibility of policing the private companies and ensuring compliance. (NAN)

•Photo shows Polio victim

 

Source News Express

Posted 30/09/2015 03:25:33 AM

 

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