The Federal government on Wednesday marked three years without a case of Wild Polio Virus (WPV) in the country and expressed confidence that by March 2020, would certify Nigeria as polio-free.
The last WPV case was isolated in a child in Borno State on 21st August 2016.
CEO of National Primary Health Care Development Agency Dr Faisal Shuaib said three years without a case of Wild Polio Virus is a historic milestone for the polio eradication programme in Nigeria and the global community.
He explained that in the last three years, not a single child has been reported with paralysis due to wild polio virus adding that in 2016 when Nigeria had a polio outbreak, President Muhammadu Buhari released N9.8 billion to the agency to contain the outbreak.
Consequently, Nigeria has commenced the process of documentation towards the final certification by the Africa Regional Certification Commission (ARCC). Shuaib said the documentation process involves a detailed assemblage and review of surveillance, routine immunisation (RI) and supplemental immunization activities (SIAs) data by the National Certification Committee before submission of the final documentation to ARCC in March, 2020. He added that if ARCC is satisfied with the country’s documentation, Nigeria will be certified Wild Polio Virus-free.
Shuaib noted that the NPHCDA and Partners responded swiftly, increasing the sensitivity of the surveillance system and deploying innovative strategies to reach children, especially in the inaccessible areas of Borno, Yobe and Adamawa states, including vaccinating children through firewalling, international border vaccination, local transit vaccination, Nomadic, hospital, market and vaccinations at camps for Internal Displaced Persons (IDP).
He said agency’s determination is to rapidly improve routine immunization in the country, following the 2016 MICs/NICS which revealed a national Pentavalent 3 coverage of 33%. He said the agency established the National Emergency Routine Immunization Coordination Centre (NERICC) to strengthen Routine Immunization (RI).
According to him, completely eradicating all types of polio virus will be one of the greatest achievements in human history that will have a lasting, positive impact on the African continent.
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