We Will Not Rest On Our Oars Till We Conquer Polio-President Buhari

By Emeka Anuforo

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.

In a joint statement between the Nigerian government and its partners issued in Abuja, Buhari said: “This is a historic moment that has brought Africa and the world the closest it has ever been to eradicating this devastating disease. But our job is not yet done. We must protect the gains we have made and stay on course to tackle the challenges that remain in eliminating polio for good.”

Minister of Health, Prof. Isaac Folorunso Adewole, said government is building resilience by “getting people out of their comfort zones to further enhance the quality of polio campaigns, reach children in difficult areas and continue to improve routine immunization.”

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.

polio

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.”

European Union signed an agreement with the Federal Government to ensure sustainable quality Routine Immunization Services against wild polio virus.The Executive Secretary Gombe State Primary Health Care Development Agency, Dr. Ahmed Gana disclosed this while speaking during the official launching of the programme at the weekend said the state has been polio- free since 2013 which led to the attraction of development partners to the state, like Bill Gate Foundation which has given support of about $15 million for the establishment of village Health Workers Programmer in the state.

“The state has also been given a grant of $1.5 million dollar by the World Bank through the Federal Ministry of Heath for the improvement of health care service particularly the Primary health care services in the state,” Dr Gana added that.

He stressed that EU-Sign Project has awarded contract for construction of Nafada Local Council Primary health care cold store and renovation of others.Also speaking the EU-Sign project Gombe state Technical Assistant Mr. Audu Gambo Kariya said the project is aimed at strengthening the health system to increase access to and utilisation of immunisation services within an integrated primary health care service delivery system.

Source: www.guardian.ng

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