By Ndidi Chukwu
The Federal Government has assured the availability of vaccines for immunization of all eligible Nigerian children to strengthen its commitment towards eradication of vaccine preventable diseases. This follows the mandate given to the Ministry and all stakeholders in health by the President Muhammad Buhari, to ensure that the nation eradicate Wild Polio Virus by 2017. Maintaining the feat the nation has seen in the last one year without new infection, the ministry, and all other partners will begin full vaccination in the Northeastern states, especially the camps where Internally Displaced Persons are putting up to avoid cross-border infections.
The Permanent Secretary Federal Ministry of Health, Mr. Linus Awute, disclosed this when the World Health Organization (WHO) Country Representative, Dr. Rui Gama Vaz, formally presented the new WHO Team Leader on Expanded Programme on Immunization (EPI), Dr. Fiona Braka, to him in his office in Abuja.
The Permanent Secretary stated that in consolidating the gains of Nigeria’s achievements, the Ministry was in the process of streamlining the activities of all role players in the public health across the country to align with the National Strategic Health Development Plan (NSHDP).
He further disclosed that the spate of insurgency in the North East notwithstanding, the Ministry has concluded the mapping of all Internally Displaced Persons (IDPS) for the effective distribution of vaccines and commodities to them. This is to ensure that no room is left for the reemergence of the Wild Polio Virus.
Mr. Awute commended Dr. Gama Vas and the role of the WHO which he described as, “Effective and complementary to the nation’s health system.” Speaking earlier, the WHO Country Representative, Dr. Gama Vaz, recalled the meeting of the High Advocacy Team, led by the Permanent Secretary, with President Muhammadu Buhari and Governors of Polio High Risk States at the State House recently. He observed that the Governors demonstrated great commitment and knowledge of the status of Polio in their states. He also affirmed that the WHO would continue to support and work with the Federal Ministry of Health in a very, “transparent and accountable manner.”
In her remarks, the new WHO Country Leader on the Expanded Programme on Immunization, Dr. Braka, congratulated Nigeria for the progress and achievement in Polio immunization and pledged to build on the success of her predecessor.