FG Pledges Increased Polio Surveillance
- Written by Oluwafemi Olowookere
The Hon. Minister of Health, Prof. Isaac Adewole has pledged that Nigeria would continue to increase surveillance towards achieving a Polio free nation.
The Minister stated this during the African Regional Certification Commission (ARCC) Meeting in Abuja, recently.
Professor Adewole noted that Africa was making very remarkable progress towards the eradication of poliomyelitis in the region.
“In 2012, the African Region reported 128 wild poliovirus (WPV) cases, which accounted for more than half of the Global burden. However, in 2013, about seventy-six cases were reported, in 2014, about 17 cases, no case was reported in 2015”
“Nonetheless, in 2016, after almost two years, four cases were confirmed from areas that were under Boko Haram Insurgency in Borno State, Nigeria. The outbreak was successfully contained and in a timely manner too”, he added.
He further said that a National Routine Immunization Coordination Centre (NERICC) was inaugurated on 4 July 2017 adding that State Routine Immunization Coordination Centres (SERICCs) had been established in 18 low performing states.
The Minister informed that High-level advocacy was underway with the Executive Governors of States to prioritize Routine Immunization, provide the necessary resources and enforce accountability at LGA level.
Earlier in her remarks, the ARCC Chairperson, Prof. Rose Leke called for high level advocacy and allocation of adequate resources to achieve a polio free status and certification for the African region.
She emphasized that the meeting would present an opportunity to review the updates and progress reports for Polio eradication in the Africa.
She further said that several initiatives including the use of technological innovations were being conducted to ensure access to inaccessible and hard to reach areas as well as mobile populations to implement high quality surveillance and immunisation activities.
” We have to remain vigilant to avoid missing any transmission or importation of polio virus especially, in security compromised areas”, she added.
She highlighted that” Considering the Polio outbreak in Nigeria and Lake Chad basin countries in 2016, the cVDPV2 outbreaks in Democratic Republic of Congo, Kenya and Nigeria, the risk of importation and missing transmission are high in the African region’’.
She informed that the ARCC had decided to hold the annual meeting in Nigeria so that other countries could learn about the progress made in the country on the Polio eradication initiative.
In his Goodwill message, the WHO Country Representative, Dr. Wondi Alemu said that cVDPV2 outbreaks in Nigeria were in areas with very low immunization coverage.
He commended the aggressive emergency effort mounted by the Government of Nigeria to address outbreaks and ramp up routine immunization.
To this end, the ARCC members would review the status of Polio eradication efforts in the African region and also receive updates from 9 countries.
“The countries include: Madagascar, South Sudan, Mauritania ,Guinea Bissau, Central African Republic ,Angola, Kenya, Equatorial Guinea and Nigeria ”, he informed.