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Fg Approves Plans To Tackle Wild Polio Virus

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SAN FRANCISCO, August 18, (THEWILL) – The federal government has approved a robust response plan, developed by the National Primary Healthcare Development Agency, to tackle and prevent the further spread of the Wild Polio-Virus (WPV) in the country.

Isaac Adewole, Minister of Health, made this known at a news briefing in Abuja saying the plans included, five rounds of polio campaigns, two of which are to focus on 18 northern states, and two to be conducted nationwide while one would be conducted in five states

He said the campaigns would be synchronised with the affected regions and provinces in Chad, Niger, Cameroon and Central African Republic.

The Minister declared that under the sub- national campaign 31 million children would be vaccinated with oral polio vaccines in the north-east, north -west and north-central zones of the country.

He added that the nationwide response would see the vaccination of more than 56 million children October and November.

The minister said the revised plan was informed by factors such as historical data on WPV affected areas, pattern of transmission over the last five years and population displacement due to insecurity in the north-east.

The minster added that vaccination of children had commenced in accessible areas of Gwoza, Jere, Maiduguri Municipal Council, Bama and Mafa LGAs.

He said it also took into consideration the likelihood of the spread of the virus to other neighbouring countries and population immunity adding that the response required that adequate protection be provided to vulnerable children at risk of infection.

“Report from the investigation carried out by our team, revealed that both cases came from security compromised areas of Borno state, which have had limited access to any form of health services including immunisation since 2012,” Adewole said.

“The case reported in Jere LGA was from a child who had arrived at the IDP camp in Maiduguri after trekking for two days following the provision of an escape corridor by the military authorities.

“The second case was detected in Gwoza LGA, where their health facilities have been destroyed by insurgents and accessibility was a barrier to service provision.”

“We are working closely with the ministry of defence to provide security for the health workers during the house to house immunization and also to provide timely information on security and accessibility situation in Borno state and its environs.

“Also plans are underway to reinforce and intensify immunization of intending pilgrims to Saudi Arabia.

“Mindful of the malnutrition amongst recently liberated population, the Nutrition Department in the FMoH will closely work with the Response Team in Borno to provide nutritious meals alongside Oral Polio Vaccines to the targeted children.”

Last Thursday, the Minister confirmed the outbreak of two cases of wild polio virus in Borno.

Story by David Oputah