ABUJA: Nigeria is on course to be declared polio free in the next eleven months.
This was disclosed by the Executive Director, National Primary Healthcare Development Agency, NPHCDA, Faisal Shuaib on the sidelines of the 36th meeting of the Expert Review Committee on Polio Eradication and Routine Immunization in Abuja on Monday.
According to Dr. Shuaib, the nation is very close to polio eradication, having gone over 25 months; “with very strong surveillance showing clearly that we are not missing wild polio cases.
“So if this positive trajectory continues, in the next 11 months, if we do have access to those insecure areas like Borno, Yobe and some parts of the north east then it is very likely that the certification institutions will review the progress that Nigeria has made; the lack of wild polio virus transmission and very likely in the next few months we will be certified polio free”.
The NPHCDA Boss also disclosed that the nation has achieved a 10 percent increase in routine immunization coverage between 2016 to date; a feat he described as unprecedented.
“10 percent might appear marginal but in the routine immunization space, it is unprecedented. Never before have we seen this huge jump anywhere globally that within a period of one or two years we can actually achieve 10 percent change point increase in routine immunization” he said.
On the hard to reach areas, he maintained that; “we have mobile teams, we have health workers who have been well trained, to go the hinterlands, to go to areas that are beyond geographic barriers and we are beginning to see a gradual improvement in our routine immunization coverage”.
He however stated that, “one of the greatest challenges we have is in the area of mothers, caregivers, bringing their kids to the health facilities to be given routine immunization.
“Even in the urban centers, and places that are accessible, we still have that problem because folks have not realized the importance for kids to take the full complement of routine immunization vaccines let alone the hard to reach areas”.
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