…Says We Will Triumph
Dr. Faisal Shuaib, the Executive Director of the National Primary Health Care Development Agency (NPHCDA), revealed on Monday that the environmental polio virus had infected 121 children across the federation.
This outbreak, according to him, affected 121 people in various parts of the country.
Saying that more than half of the states have at least one case, we are gaining control of the situation and are optimistic that we will be able to overcome it.
Shuaib gave this hinted at the Northern Traditional Leaders’ Committee (NTLC) on Primary Health Care (PHC) Delivery’s Third Quarter Review Meeting.
According to him; “With the different disease outbreaks that we are currently contending with, it is imperative that our approach becomes more integrated. This is because they are all interwoven. Amidst COVID-19, we have Cholera, CVDPV2 which is as a result of suboptimal routine immunization in some parts of the country. As we conduct outbreak response campaigns, we need to find a way to integrate our responses for efficient utilization of available resources and to enhance confidence in our people. Integration will also enhance our determination to continue to safeguard our wild polio virus free status. Consequently, Your Highnesses, mobilization, sensitization, advocacy and role modelling efforts should target multiple interventions simultaneously”.
Fielding questions from newsmen on the nature of the polio virus, he said, “There is a clear distinction from the wild polio virus that have been eradicated in Nigeria and the whole Africa continent from the current outbreak of different types of polio virus.
“This is a virus that exist where there is low routine immunization care, where women don’t take their kids for immunization shot against polio, measles and yellow fever like our parents back then used to do.
Where there is no full routine immunization and where there us poor water and sanitation then you begin derived to see that the virus is mutating just as you see in COVID-19 mutating same thing applies to polio virus.
“We would be able to mount outbreak responses to make sure that the tools that we are using will ensure that this outbreak stood. We are in control of the situation, hopefully before the end of the raining season, we will be able to carry out enough campaign to make sure we are able to cover this.
“One other thing that is going to help us is that we don’t see this attack again is the increase in immunization coverage. Since 2016 were we recorded 33% of routine immunization it has now increased to about 71% and double the routine immunization coverage, we still have to get to about 90% before we stop seeing this outbreaks of this diseases. We are not there yet, but the unprecedented increase in routine immunization coverage is going to help us. One thing that is clear is that globally there has never been such an increase in routine immunization coverage like we are seeing in Nigeria.
“We will continue to work with traditional rulers, they have been very instrumental to convincing their subjects to take their children for routine immunizations.
“The meeting is in how we can focus on different diseases and the root causes. We can not chase every diseases like cholera, chase CVDPV2, chase Yellow fever, we have to look at the bottom line, this is because people don’t have good water and not observing environmental sanitation.
“The traditional rulers are working on how they could increase the knowledge of their subjects and how they can understand the link between poor water availability and poor environmental sanitation and the need to clear up their environments”, he explained.
Also speaking at the event, the Chairman of Northern Traditional Leaders’ Committee, His Royal Highness, Emir of Argungu ,
Alhaji Samaila Muhammadu Mera stated that, they have been sensitising their subjects on the need to take their children for routine immunizations.
We are leading by example , we have taken our COVID-19 jabs, most district and village heads have taken their.
He also assured that, they will also ginger their subjects to follow suit.
More so, the World Health Organization (WHO) Country Representative, Dr. Walter Kazadi Mulombo commended the Northern Traditional Leaders for their commitment to the agenda to ensure that Primary Health Care services remains priority for Nigerians and in reducing the risk of preventable diseases and death in our communities.
He added that the role of traditional leaders in eradication of diseases such as small pulse , Ring warm and lately polio are some of the things that really come to mind that their commitment is indeed in the morning right direction.
He also hinted that, we anticipate that this meeting will rekindle the spirit of of volunteerism and caring for each other in our communities to sustain primary healthcare.
Also, the UNICEF Country Representative, Peter Hawkins hinted that Nigeria has a very good immunization infrastructures and certain that we will come out of the outbreak of the environmental polio in no time.
He said, 120 children have so far been infected in 2021 with environmental polio, while adding that, Nigeria account for 70% of polio cases across the continent.
Hawkins further stated that, the out break is across the country and the government of Nigeria and their partners have responded exceptionally well.
According to him, 78 million vaccines had already been utilized through out Nigeria and 50million more are expected in the next months to counter the outbreak.
He noted that, they are implementing the outbreak response to contain the spread of the virus just as we fought wild polio virus together before, we need to fight the pandemic, polio and strengthen routine immunization.
Meanwhile, Dr Omotayo Bolu, the Director Immunization, U. S Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is (CDC) also commended the traditional leaders for breaking barials to getting children vaccinated across the country, saying, we will not be here today, if not for the work you have done.
She said, Nigeria has one of the highest number of children with CVDPV2 and also the highest number of unimmunized children globally.
She, however, urged the traditional leaders to prevail on their subjects to bring their children for routine immunizations, saying, we have been successful in getting Nigeria out of wild polio virus, you can help us break the transmission.