Written by Ndidi Chukwu
As the world marked World Polio Day 2014, the Nigerian Government has said a minute effort is needed to end polio by the end of 2014. With only six cases of Wild Polio Virus recorded in Nigeria since January, this year, the nation may be cueing behind India as Countries that have successfully eliminated polio before 2015.
Nigeria is one of the remaining polio endemic countries and is currently globally acknowledged as the one that has made the greatest progress towards eradication in the last one year. “This is evidenced by the fact that while Nigeria has reported only six (6) cases of the wild polio virus as at 15th October 2014, Afghanistan has 12 cases while Pakistan has 206 cases” said Minister of State for Health and Cairman Presidential Committee on Polio Eradication in Nigeria, Dr. Kahliru Alhassan.
“With the six cases, Nigeria has made over 87 percent reductions in cases” the minister noted at a press briefing on the commemoration of this year’s World Polio Day. With no new case of Wild Polio Virus type 3 reported in the last two years, the country has also been able to achieve geographic restriction of the virus by over 88 percent while the genetic cluster of WPV circulating in Nigeria has been drastically reduced from 8 to 1. “These are unprecedented feats that rekindled the global community’s confidence in Nigeria’s effort at making the country polio-free” Alhassan expresses optimism that
The representative of World Health Organisation (W.H.O), Dr. Riu Gama Vaz also added that 24th October of every year marks the anniversary of United Nations and they clock 69 years this year.
He said UN is committed to eradicating polio in Nigeria and the whole world. He commended the Nigerian Government’s Health system as being effective and standard and said their urge towards polio eradication and the recent declaration of Nigeria as Ebola free should serves as a lesson to other countries to emulate.
The Director General of National Primary Health Care Development Agency (NPHCDA), Dr Ado Muhammed, also said the drastic rate of reduction of new polio infections indicate that Nigeria is just an inch away from eradicating the disease and by December 2014, Nigeria is hopeful of becoming a polio-free country.
He said “the persistent transmission of WPV in Kano State gave rise to special mop-up response in July which focused on 29 LGAs across four states of Kano, Bauchi, Kaduna, and Jigawa areas identified as active transmission of Wild Polio Virus by the National Polio Emergency Operation Center (EOC)”
Dr Ado Muhammed explained that Nigeria will end transmission by the end of 2014 and will be certified Polio free, after three years without record of new cases.