Posted by News Express | 19 November 2016 | 1,533 times
No fewer than 31 children in north of Nigeria were immunised at the end of third round of polio immunisation in October this year.
The Minister of Health, Prof. Isaac Adewole, said on Friday that aggressive immunisation was carried out in the north to stop the transmission of wild polio virus.
Adewole who presided over the commissioning of the new Modular Polio Laboratory at the Department of Virology, University of Ibadan, on Friday
said the laboratory was purchased with a grant from the United States Agency for International Aid (USAID).
Adewole said that discovery of two wild polio virus in three local government areas in Borno state resulted in the commencement of a robust outreach response to curtail the outbreak of polio in the country.
According to him, the federal government is living no stone unturned to ensure that we interrupt the transmission of polio once again.
“This modular laboratory could not have come at a better time; as you are aware we are currently implementing a very robust outbreak response to the resurgence of the wild polio virus in security challenged North East state of Borno.
“As of today we have conducted four outbreak response rounds in addition to immediate response; the first response resulted in 800,000 children immunised in the first round.
“The first, second and third rounds covered 18 northern states with the exception of Kwara and Kogi states,’’ he said.
He said the country was on track to commence the fifth round by Dec. 5, and our ultimate aim is to reach over 41 million children with each round,” he said.
Adewole said declaring the country polio-free earlier in the year was rather premature due to the problems of insurgence in the north-eastern states.
“We should not have declared Nigeria polio-free when we did; what we should have said scientifically is that the area of the country that is free is those accessible to healthcare services.
“What we have now is polio being detected in areas that we had no control over before, these are areas that had no access to medical care in the last five years with no way to vaccinate them.
“My profound appreciation goes to the military for their giant strides which constitute part of the success in the ongoing effort to recover territories which could not benefit from health services.’’
According to him, the outbreak is not a failure of the polio eradication campaign but as a wakeup call to see that polio transmission is successfully interrupted in the country.
The U.S. Consul General, John Bray, said that the new facility, which cost an estimated $400,000 was part of the U.S. government effort to improve health and wellbeing of Nigerians.
“The U.S. government is proud to partner with the government of Nigeria to support efforts to improve health of the people of Nigeria.
“Health initiatives in Nigeria are a U.S. government priority as evidenced by the fact that well over half of USAID budget in Nigeria is spent on health,” he said.
He said that the country needed to be vigilant in the fight against polio until global certification. (NAN)
•Photo shows President Buhari personally immunising a child during a recent immunisation exercise.