The Federal Government is targeting 32 million in a fresh immunisation exercise against polio which commences tomorrow (Saturday October 17 2015), according to the Executive Director of National Primary Healthcare Development Agency (NPHCDA), Dr. Ado Muhammad.
The 11 polio vulnerable states, the NPHCDA said, are Bauchi, Borno, Jigawa, Kano, Kaduna, Katsina, Kebbi, Niger, Sokoto Yobe and Zamfara.
Muhammad who made the announcement at a press briefing on Friday in Abuja called on the media to assist in enlightening the public on the dangers of not immunising children.
Speech By Dr. Ado J.G. Muhammad, Executive Director/Ceo National Primary Health Care Development Agency At The Press Briefing On October 2015 Polio Immunization Plus Days Held At The Conference Room Of The National Polio Emergency Operations Centre, Abuja On Friday 16thoctober 2015
Distinguished members of the fourth Esteem of the Realm, it is with great national pride and fulfillment that I address you this morning on the nation’s polio eradication programme.
As you are aware, the World Health Organization (WHO), through its Director General, Dr. Margaret Chan announced Nigeria’s delisting as a polio endemic country on Friday 25th September 2015 in New York, during the 70th United Nations General Assembly. That was indeed a historic day for Nigeria. A formal declaration of this historic feat is to be done in Nigeria on Monday 26th October 2015 by WHO team to be led by the Director General, WHO before the country’s leadership.
It is pertinent to reiterate the fact that this is a great feat for our dear country as it has taken us 17 years to get to achieve it. It is the result of sustained and steady progress in the polio eradication programme since 2013, when the number of cases of polio dropped from 122 in 2012 to 53 in 2013. The progress continued and by the end of 2014, only six cases of WPV were reported. Since 24 July 2014, there has been no reported case of WPV in any part of Nigeria. However, this interruption of indigenous WPV transmission for over a year is only a major milestone to polio eradication, which is our end point.
As we bask in the euphoria of this great achievement it is important to know that we are not polio free yet. We need to sustain and even improve on the progress we have made so far to achieve polio eradication by 2017.
I want to once again use this opportunity to say CONGRATULATIONS to all Nigerians as it is a collective victory. Our special appreciation goes to the Permanent Secretary Ministry of Health, former Ministers of Health, former chief Executive Officers of NPHCDA and the defunct NPI (National Programme on Immunization) State and Local Governments, Traditional and Religious Leaders; the Nigerian Press, Development Partners donors, all other stakeholders and indeed the staff of NPHCDA for the untiring efforts, dedication and sacrifices which has made this feat possible.
I am therefore using this forum to once again solicit for the continued support of all Nigerians; especially the Press to be advocates of continuous vaccination of our children zero to five years with the oral polio vaccine until WHO certifies Nigeria a polio free country in 2017. We will be relying on you to continue to sensitize our people on the benefits of immunization and the risk of non-vaccination as we cannot afford a reversal of the gains we have made.
Gentlemen of the Press, Ladies and gentlemen, our house-to-House vaccination of children against polio is continuous in order to boost population immunity of children zero to five years and achieve eradication status. Nigeria will continue to vaccinate these children irrespective of their previous immunization status.
The next polio immunization campaign in 11 polio vulnerable States(Bauchi, Borno, Jigawa, Kano, Kaduna, Katsina, Kebbi, Niger, SokotoYobe and Zamfara) commences tomorrow, Saturday 17th October 2015.It is targeted at all children aged zero to five years, irrespective of their previous immunization status. A total of 32million children are targeted during the campaign.
We, therefore call on all caregivers to allow Vaccinators into their homes to immunize their children against polio.
Once again, Congratulations Nigerians for exiting the group of polio endemic countries!
Thank you all for you support.
Dr. Ado J.G. Muhammad, OON
National Primary Health Care Development Agency