The Nigerian Medical Association (NMA) Federal Capita Territory Chapter (FCT) has called on stakeholders in the health sector to ensure that Nigeria is free from polio by 2019.
Dr Philip Ekpe Philip, chairman of chapter made the call in his address at the opening ceremony of the “Physician Week’’ on Tuesday in Abuja.
“Nigeria was about to eradicate polio in 2016 but unfortunately there were diagnoses in Borno; and for a country to be free of polio it has to be free for three years
“We were delisted in 2016, so by 2019 if there are no any diagnoses then we will join the rest of the world to be declared as polio free.
“We are therefore calling on the Federal Government, our team and other stakeholders to make sure that we don’t get another diagnosis just about the time that we are about to be declared polio free,’’ he said.
Speaking earlier, Dr Matthew Ashikeni, Director FCT Health and Human Services Secretariat, said that the Federal Government was committed to ensuring that polio is totally eradicated by 2019.
According to him, the government is putting a lot of resources together with its partners to make sure that every child in Nigeria is protected against polio.
“You know that it paralyses the child; the only way we can prevent polio sustainably and in a very cost effective manner is to make sure that a child receives vaccine.
“Ordinarily, it should not be a difficult thing because we all want our children to be healthy but there is a lot of misinformation.
“The doctors have to take responsibility because if you are my patient, I think it is my responsibility to guide you properly to make sure you know some of the benefits of a vaccine.
“It is very safe and highly protective. India was able to eradicate polio in 2012. India is bigger than Nigeria and if we talk of resources we have enough resources as India, so why can’t we eradicate polio?
“So I challenge the doctors today to rise up to the challenge, ensure that your clients, their patients, friends and family members are able to receive routine immunisation.
“The coverage of routine immunisation is very low, the average for Nigeria is 33%, there are states with 3% and it is not good enough,” he stressed.
Newsmen report that every Oct. 24 is set aside for the global commemoration of the World Polio Day, to raise awareness for polio eradication.