Obasanjo Laments Fresh Polio Outbreak

Obasanjo Laments Fresh Polio Outbreak

Postby Richard Akindele » Wed Aug 16, 2006 7:29 pm

President Olusegun Obasanjo yesterday lamented fresh outbreak of polio meningitis in some parts of Nigeria, and urged stakeholders and partners to reawaken to the fact that the war against polio was not over yet.

Obasanjo said "the country has recorded new cases of about 467 polio infections this year. This development should re-awaken us all to the fact that we are far away from winning the battle of ridding our country of polio."

He said these at a one-day sensitisation workshop on Polio Eradication, organised by the Ministry of Women Affairs at Transcorp Hilton Hotel, Abuja, yesterday.

Represented by Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), Chief Ufot Ekaette, Obasanjo called for stakeholders commitment to the pledge that Nigerian children must not be allowed to be crippled or die due to vaccine-preventable diseases.

According to him, "our concerted efforts and substantial financial, technical and human resource investments have neither sufficiently impacted routine immunisation coverage, nor have we been able to arrest the wild polio virus transmission."

He said government, stakeholders and partners' efforts, to eradicate the polio virus transmission in Nigeria suffered a setback by 16 month boycott of the global eradication programme in some parts of the country, adding that it has been proven scientifically and medically, that the oral polio vaccine (OPV) is the only effective means of eradicating the disease.

"Globally, strategies used for eliminating the disease include high routine coverage with OPV, special campaigns in form of National Immunisation Days (NIDs) to rapidly decrease polio virus circulation, establishment of sensitive surveillance systems for polio cases, and mopping up immunisation activities to eliminate the last remaining reservoirs of polio transmission," Obasanjo said.

He urged state governments especially, and other stakeholders to do more by way of greater commitment to child healthcare.

Minister for Health, Professor Eyitayo Lambo, said there was a long way to go in achieving the set goals in eradicating polio completely in Nigeria.

"There is a long way to go to achieve the quality of immunisation coverage needed to stop transmission in high-risk states. Transmission of WPV in a few states still poses very great risk to the rest of the country, the rest of Africa and the world," he said, adding that "we have made 65 per cent the national target for year 2006, and we are supporting states and councils in their efforts to further improve and sustain routine immunisation service delivery within the context of the Primary Health Care services delivery."

In her welcome address, Minister for Women Affairs, Mrs Inna Maryam Ciroma said a multi-sectoral approach was required in the implementation of programmes and projects for children.

She said the workshop was organised to sensitise stakeholders and review immunisation challenges in Nigeria as it affects polio eradication, advocate and create awareness on immunisation and promote the production and use of information kits.

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Wild polio virus spreads widely in Nigeria's northern state

Postby Richard Akindele » Tue Sep 12, 2006 4:54 pm

The wild polio virus is being widely spread in 22 local government areas of Jigawa state in north Nigeria bordering the Republic of Niger, a state healthcare official said on Monday.

Hajia Hajara Nagado, commissioner for health of Jigawa State, made the remarks at a workshop on "Child Survival Interventions" in the state capital Dutse organized by the Bauchi Zonal Office of United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF).

She said 117 cases had been confirmed, adding that the virus was prevalent in 54 out of the 589 wards as at the end of August.

The situation, she said, placed Jigawa as the third most endemic state after Kano and Katsina.

Nagado said it was necessary for the state to take advantage of the ongoing reform in the health sector to reverse the trend.

The health ministry, she said, was collaborating with the National Program on Immunization, the World Health Organization ( WHO), UNICEF, the British Department for International Development and other partners to curb the spread.

Since the beginning of this year, Nigeria has spent 30 million U.S. dollars on polio vaccine procurement, said Edugie Abebe, interim national coordinator of Nigeria' National Program on Immunization (NPI) .

She said Nigeria, the most populous country in African with a population of over 140 million, was worse hit by poliomyelitis, recording more than 80 percent of the cases in the world.

The other countries in the world with a high incidence of the disease are India, Pakistan and Afghanistan, she added.

Source: Xinhua
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