By Chioma Obinna
Nigeria and 14 countries across the African continent have launched a synchronised mass immunisation campaign to reach 72 million children in a renewed effort towards eradicating Wild Polio Virus, WPV.
Speaking in Lagos weekend, a member of Global Polio Eradication Initiative, GPEI, and Chairman of Nigeria National PolioPlus Committee of Rotary International, Busuyi Onabolu, said the campaign was a continuation of Africa’s leaders unprecedented cooperation and commitment to carry out series of synchronised immuni-sation activities which formally took place in 2009, March and April 2010, following the spread of the disease in Nigeria which infected 24 countries across West and Central Africa and in the Horn of Africa.
According to Onabolu, a total of about 290,000 vaccinators have been mobilised to go door-to-door and deliver two drops of oral polio vaccine, OPV, to every child under five in areas considered at “highest risk” of polio transmission.
He explained that most volunteer vaccinators in the vaccination campaigns are Rotarians, who have themselves given almost $1 billion to the polio eradication effort since 1985.
The 15-country syn-chronised activities will cost approximately USD42.6 million, and are funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the US Centres for Disease Control and Prevention, CDC, USAID, Rotary International, UNICEF and the Governments of Germany and Japan.
Specifically, the current campaign started with Nigeria last week (from 23 October), targeting more than 29 million children in 20 high-risk northern states.