By Ndahi Marama, Maiduguri
Following the danger posed by the continued transmission of Wild Polio Virus (WPV) in some countries, evident in the two cases of the debilitating crippling disease that were detected in Malawi and Mozambique, two African countries that hitherto have not recorded any case in many years, Government through Borno State Primary Health Care Development Agency (BoSPHCDA) and other health partners have been leaving no stone unturned to ensure routine immunization of children in all communities.
This was disclosed by the newly appointed Executive Director of BoSPHCDA, Dr. Lawi Mshelia while briefing Journalists yesterday at the Emergency Operation Centre, EOC in Maiduguri.
He said, Governor Babagana Zulum has passion to accessible health care, adding that, the parley with Journalists is coming two weeks before the third-year commemoration of the certification of the African Region as polio free by the World Health Organisation (WHO).
Mshelia revealed that, Nigeria and the African Region was presented with the Polio Free Status certificate on the 25th August 2020.
Although he said, the African Regional Certification Committee (ARCC) while presenting the certificate to Nigeria in 2020, acknowledged the fragility of our status since our routine immunisation is still very low.
His words: “As you are aware, Borno state is one of the states facing security challenges, making the effort to vaccinate every child a task we all must support.
“Aside the challenge of reaching every child, we have two countries, Pakistan and Afghanistan still polio endemic and with population movement across the globe, the battle is not yet over until these two countries are certified polio free.
“The danger posed by the continued transmission of Wild Polio Virus (WPV) in the two countries, is evident in the two cases of the debilitating crippling disease that were detected in Malawi and Mozambique, two African countries that hitherto have not recorded any case in many years.
“Both the two cases are genetically linked to cases detected in Pakistan. Also, there have been reported cases of circulating Variant Polio Virus type two (CVPV2) in countries around the globe including Nigeria, and concerted efforts made to halt these transmissions have been largely a huge success.
“I gave the above scenarios as Borno state is not immune from the cases of CVPV2; this is the reason why we still need to present our children under five years for vaccination during polio campaigns and to appeal to our caregivers to continuously visit health facilities to complete Routine Immunisations for their children. This is the surest way to halt the transmission of the circulating Variant Polio Virus type two.
“As we continue to explore means to reach all children, I wish to announce to you that our efforts to build herd immunity is very positive.
The just concluded Out Break Response, which ended yesterday has given us hope that the state is on course to deliver on her mandate of rising the immunity level of all U5 children to over 95 percent. About 96%, 2,378,002 children targeted for the four days campaign were vaccinated with novel Oral Polio Vaccines.
“The success recorded is not unconnected with the unflinching support we received from our amiable Gov. Prof Babagana Umara Zulum and his Deputy.
“Our Development Partners, UNICEF, WHO, CDC AFENET, Rotary International, etc have played significant role in the successes recorded so far.
“I use this opportunity to also acknowledge our Local Government Chairmen, who in keeping with the spirit of the Seattle Declaration did not stop at attending Evening Review Meetings to receive reports from the field but has provided financial contributions for the successful implementation of the campaign across all the 27 Council areas.
“I specifically thank all Local Government Chairmen, traditional leaders, Religious leaders, security agents, MLG/EA, Ministry of Education, SUBEB, Media for their contributions.
” I will add that the National and State Primary Health Care Development Agencies is also commencing other immunization services including; Introduction of Rotavirus vaccine (prevention of diarrheal in children) into our routine immunization, Maternal and neonatal tetanus elimination (MNTE) vaccination, Another round of Yellow fever vaccination and Not leaving out the Covid 19 vaccination for everyone over 18 years which can be accessed in all health facilities and mass vaccination sites.” Mshelia stated.