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National statistics on polio still not cheering — HAMZAT

By Chioma Obinna

As the 3rd Round of the National Immunization Days ended last week In Lagos State,  Special Adviser to the Lagos State Governor, Pharm. Toyin Hamzat  declared that the statistics on Wild Polio Virus (WPV) in the country is not yet cheering.

Hamzat who spoke in Lagos opined that immunization remains the most cost-effective strategy in disease prevention and health promoting services.

The Special adviser who also noted that the WPV cases dropped drastically from 1,122 confirmed cases in 2006 to 285 cases in 2007 frowned that the improved situation in 2007 Polio Eradication Initiative reversed in 2008 with severe resurgence of polio cases especially WPV1.

His words, “A total 801 cases were recorded for that year. As May 23 2009, 278 WPV cases have been confirmed in 26 states as against 68 WPV cases spread across 20 states and 54 LGAs.”

He explained that the 2008 cases represent 90 percent of the confirmed WPV cases in the African region, 50 percent of the cases globally, 76 percent of the global wild polio virus Type 1 cases and 10 percent of wild polio virus type 3 cases.

“Of great concern is the fact that Nigeria indeed has re-infected 14 countries that were previously polio – free.”he stated.

Continuing, he pointed out that many people believe that polio was a northern Nigeria problem and only few appreciate the fact that it is still a national dilemma as some states in the southern states which were previously polio -free are now experiencing outbreaks and Lagos is no exception.

Explaining why the state government has decided to do so many rounds of National Immunization Plus Days this year, he insisted that the situation is still not cheering.

“The question may be asked: Why so many rounds of the National Immunization Plus Days this year?  Statistics on Wild Polio Virus (WPV) in the country is not cheering.  In 2006, Nigeria had 1,122 confirmed WPV cases and this dropped drastically to 285 cases in 2007.

The improved situation in 2007 Polio Eradication Initiative, however, reversed in 2008 with severe resurgence of polio cases especially WPV1.  A total of 801 cases were recorded for that year.

As of May 23, 2009, 278 WPV cases have been confirmed in 26 states as against 68 WPV cases spread across 20 states and 54 local government areas which I reported during my March 2009 National Immunization Plus Days press briefing.

The 2008 cases represent 90 percent of the confirmed WPV cases in the African Region, 50 percent of the cases globally, 7 percent  concern is the fact that Nigeria indeed has re-infected 14 countries that were previously polio free,”

He noted that concerted efforts by Federal and state governments and partners have led to consistent improvement in the coverage of children immunised  since the Integrated Measles Campaign (IMC) implemented in December 2008 with corresponding figures for December 2008 IMC, January 2009 National Immunization Plus Days, February 2009 Special Immunization Plus Days and March 2009 National Immunization Plus Days put 2,806, 207; 3,855,073; 4,141,398; and 4,373,602 children respectively.


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