The Federal Government has expressed optimism that with the impressive gains recorded in the fight against the wild polio virus disease, the case will be completely eradicated from the country like the Ebola virus diseases.
Vice President Mohammed Namadi Sambo expressed the confidence Thursday, at a meeting of the Presidential Task Force on Polio Eradication held at the State House, Abuja.
Vice President Sambo said “Government will continue to give political support, ensure sustained funding of the programame, procurement of the polio vaccines and support the introduction of other new vaccines and work with the traditional, religious leaders, development partners and other community based organizations, to ensure that no polio case is recorded in Nigeria.”
He commended the Commissioners of Health in various States, Local Government Chairmen, traditional rulers, especially the commitment of His Eminence the Sultan of Sokoto and the Shehu of Barma as demonstrated through the Northern Traditional Leaders Committee on Primary Health Care (NTLC).
He also commended the support of the partners such as Aliko Dangote Foundation, Bill and Melinda Gate Foundation, the World Health Organisation and other partners for their unwavering support towards eradication of the virus.
Sambo expressed delight that in the last two years no new case of the virus has been recorded and 88 percent has been achieved in 2014 compared to 27 local governments in 2013, noting that the country has greatly improved this year as compared to other parts of the world where polio is the problem.
He also noted that the task is enormous but urged all stakeholders to continue to work collectively in order to achieve result especially in the areas where there is security challenge and other risk factors. The VP also urged them to ensure success in the eradication of other diseases such as measles, whooping cough and diarrhea.
Earlier, the Supervising Minister of State for Health, Dr. Khaliru Alhassan, gave update on the success of the programme and challenges, stressing that the “Wild Polio Virus is now confined to only five LGAs compared to the more generalized situation of the past…today, we have six cases of Wild Polio Virus in Nigeria. In the last one year, 96% of the 774 local government areas have been polio free, while 35% out of 37 or 95% states have been without polio in the last one year.”
The Executive Secretary of the National Primary Health Care Development Agency, Dr. Ado Mohammed, delivered a power point presentation where he expressed the efforts of the three tiers of governments in the eradication of the polio virus.
Commissioners from states also gave highlights and comments on the achievement of the programme. The Commissioner of Health from Kano State which has five cases of the virus said all hands are on deck and with the support of the partners and traditional leaders, it would soon be eradicated.
Yobe State Commissioner of Health also said the only one virus identified in the state is confined to a Ward and assured of its eradication. All stakeholders were encouraged to sustain the achievement by constantly immunizing children especially at the border towns to avoid the importation of same to the country.
Present at the meeting were the Governor of Bauchi State, Alhahi Isa Yuguda, the Deputy of Kaduna State, Dr. Nuhu Bajoga, representative of World Health Organisation and UNICEF, Commissioners of Health from various states of the Federation.
For: SSA (Media and Publicity) to the Vice President.