News The African Way

Nigeria Enters Second Year Free Of Polio

By Longtong Ibrahim

Kaduna (Nigeria) – Nigeria has recorded a zero case of polio in the last one year, making it a step closer to achieving the goal of eradicating polio in 2017.

The last case of polio reported, was that of a 16 months old boy from Sumaila, LGA in Kano State.

A statement by National Primary Health Care Development Agency in with its partners says Nigeria will officially be taken off the list of polio-endemic countries if all pending laboratory investigations return negative in the next few weeks; adding that it would be certified polio free by WHO in 2017, if it maintains a zero case status and strengthens its surveillance system.

“If this progress is sustained with no re-infection and surveillance remains strong, Nigeria and the rest of Africa would achieve polio eradication by 2017.” The statement says.

Nigeria recorded 122 polio virus cases in 2012, making it the country with highest number of polio cases globally.

“Government and partners reiterate that it’s going to take a lot of hard work. Polio campaigns will need to continue and reach all children in the country several times a year.

“While there is polio anywhere in this world, every child is at risk. Surveillance needs to become even more sensitive so that no virus will be missed. And routine immunization coverage needs to improve significantly, especially in the northern states.”

It says, the achievement could be traced to Nigeria’s commitment in its “all-out” effort which focuses attention, resources and activities on the remaining polio strongholds of the country, particularly the northern states.

Executive Director of the Agency, Dr. Ado Muhammad said,“Today we are looking forward to 2017 and we remain committed to finding concrete and sharp solutions to overcome the remaining bottlenecks until we achieve eradication in this country; We recognize the need to sustain and re-double our efforts to ensure every child is reached.”

He commended the efforts of field workers who are working tirelessly to achieve this goal despite all the challenges; “it is important to pay tribute to the hundreds of thoughts of vaccinators, community mobilizers, Traditional and Religious leaders, parents and caregivers who have supported polio eradication efforts for more than a decade, despite the challenges,” urging them to sustain the gains made towards polio eradication by 2017, when Nigeria will be certified polio-free by WHO.

“Nigeria’s achievement in stopping polio will save hundreds of thousands of children from lifelong paralysis or death each year. Polio efforts have contributed substantively to improving the health system, including disease surveillance, routine immunization and maternal and child health. Dr. Ado Muhammad said.

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