By Ndidi Chukwu
As Nigeria celebrates two years without recording new poliomyelitis case, the Community Health and Research Initiative (CHR), under the aegis of Partnership for Advocacy in Child and Family Health (PACFaH) joins the Global Polio Eradication Initiative (GPEI) to applaud Nigeria’s efforts in kicking Polio out of the country.
Our correspondent reports that the feat achieved has so far has brought Africa and the rest of the world very close to total eradication of Wild Polio Virus (WPV), which has been a global burden and one of the highest causes of under-five -five deaths.
Health Reporters also gathered that it is an important milestone and a major step towards polio-free certification for Nigeria in 2017.
As the World joins Nigeria to celebrate this achievement so far, CHR with support from the PACFaH Consortium, is calling on the Nigerian government to ensure timely release of Routine Immunization funds allocated in the 2016 appropriation act.
CHR/PACFaH wishes to commend the President Muhammadu Buhari, for the allocation of N12.8 billion for immunization which presents 45 percent of the total 2016 health budget.
The Executive Director of the National Primary Health Care Development Agency (NPHCDA), Dr. Ado Muhammad, was also commended for his efforts to ensure a strong surveillance system is in place by increasing environmental surveillance sites and community informants across the country.
For sustainability, CHR calls for timely release of 2016 immunization funds, accountable expenditure of the funds to meet the required needs and achieve a total coverage of immunization activities as the country moves to the last phase of the eradication program.
“Nigeria must not relent in its goal towards achieving a polio-free nation certification by 2017, but this is only achievable if the government can meet the required funding needs, and make resources available as well as ensure funds to be used for immunization and polio eradication program are judiciously utilized for this purpose,” CHR/PACFaH Project Director, Dr. Aminu Magashi Garba.
Dr. Magashi added that; “what is needed in Nigeria is improved political will and efforts to meet financial commitments made for immunization at all levels of government, strengthened surveillance system with access to basic healthcare services and other life-saving vaccines to protect the nations’ children from vaccine preventable