By Muhammad Auwal
The National Primary Health Care Development Agency (NPHCDA) says no fewer than 50,000 children are yet to be reached with wild polio vaccine in some parts of North-East due to security challenges.
The Executive Director of the NPHCDA, Dr Faisal Shuaib made this known during the investiture of the 11th District Governor of Rotary International, District 9125 in Abuja.
The NPHCDA boss was part of the dignitaries who received special award from the organisation at the ceremony.
“We still have almost 50,000 children that we are trying to reach in the next few months.
“That is why the Chief of Army Staff Yusuf Buratai went to Borno last month and reactivated ‘The Buratai Initiative,’ Shuaib said.
He explained that the ‘Theatre Command Buratai Initiative Task Force’ (TCBITF) was a collaborative effort between the army; the NPHCDA and the Federal Ministry of Health.
Shuaib said that the initiative was to vaccinate kids in the security compromised areas and ensure that the kids get the health services they require beyond the polio vaccine.
“We are now seeing how the military personnel were collaborating with health officers to ensure that the 50,000 kids that were previously un-reached are now being reached with the medicine and vaccines,’’ he said.
The scribe expressed optimism that Nigeria would be certified a polio free nation in spite of security challenges in some parts of the country.
“In the next two to three months, the World Health Organisation would commence the processes of certifying Nigeria polio free country.
“This is bearing in mind that no wild polio virus has been isolated anywhere in Nigeria. This is incredible and it is one of the requirements for Nigeria to be certified polio free,’’ he said.
Shuaib said the agency was keeping its fingers cross to ensure that all kids in Nigeria were given the vaccine they need to ensure that they do not have polio virus.
According to him, the agency is looking at everywhere in the country to ensure that no wild polio virus transmission is taking place.
Dr Shuaib served as the Incident Manager and Head of the Nigeria Ebola Emergency Operation Center during the July to October 2014 outbreak of Ebola Virus Disease.
As Head of the Nigeria Ebola Emergency Operation Center, he coordinated a team of over 1,000 health workers and volunteers in the country’s response to the outbreak.
In his remarks, the 11th District Governor, District 9125, Dr Victor Onukwugha, said one of the strategic objectives of the club was to provide humanitarian services and support government to end wild polio virus.