Eleven days to a year since Nigeria rolled out the red carpet, with drums and timberels, to celebrate its victory over the wild polio virus, the deadly disease is back again. So says the World Health Organization, WHO, which released a recent indicating that the virus is, once more, on the loose as 12 vaccine-derived cases have been confirmed in some states.
In an e-mail release, UNICEF’s Health Manager, Maiduguri Field Office, Dr Clement Adams, disclosed that indeed, certain countries across the world, including Nigeria, are experiencing an outbreak of vaccine-derived polio virus. That is despite all efforts put in place by Nigeria which led to its polio-free certification on August 25, 2020, from the World Health Organisation Independent Africa Regional Certification Commission for Polio Eradication.
“The current circulating polio virus is the type 2 virus and a vaccine-derived outbreak. Currently, it is spreading and we have cases in 12 states… This has been happening over the years and in different countries as well. It is a threat and we are conducting campaigns to contain it,” Adams disclosed.
According to Adams, UNICEF is doing everything possible to work alongside the federal and state governments towards ensuring that the virus is effectively contained.
“It is important we ensure an integrated response to all challenges so that we will continue the response of coronavirus, cholera and polio together. It can be managed by making sure we quickly immunise all children under five years.”
Adams noted also that Unicef has already concluded two rounds of sensitization campaign in both Borno and Yobe states. According to him, the program is scheduled to last till the end of the year just so that all children under five years get the opportunity to be protected from the deadly virus.
“Currently, we have done two rounds of campaign in Borno and one in Yobe. We have lined up campaigns till the end of year to ensure all children under five years are protected. We are encouraging all to help educate the general public about the importance of getting immunized,” he said, adding that UNICEF is ready to support in making available the vaccine and other relevant requirements.
“UNICEF is supporting in procuring all the vaccines, ensuring all cold chain is maintained, providing technical guidance, providing guidance on C4D and providing funds to support the campaigns.”
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