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WHO 2020 Certification: Nigeria marks 3 years of free Polio

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Nigeria has achieved three years without a case of Wild Polio Virus (WPV) since the last isolated WPV case in Borno on Aug. 21, 2016.

Dr Faisal Shuaib, the Executive Director, National Primary Health Care Development Agency (NPHCDA), disclosed this at news conference on Wednesday in Abuja.

The briefing was organised by the agency to mark Nigeria’s achievement of three years without a case of Wild Polio Virus (WPV).

Shuaib said the NPHCDA was acknowledging milestone for this great achievement which kicks-in the process of attaining WHO certification of polio free nation by 2020.

He added that attaining three years without new case of WPV means that all the efforts and strategies of the Federal Government to end the circulation of WPV was working.

He assured that the agency would do everything possible to ensure that the gains are not reversed.

Shuaib said the current situation calls for a continuous vaccination of all the children.

He said that it is imperative that all stakeholders continue to support the polio programme through technical, financial support and political oversight to prevent the re-occurrence of WPV.

He added that the support was required to stop the spread of all the other types of polio virus in Nigeria.

“We need to collectively address the remaining challenges facing the programme, including the poor access to children in some parts of the country due to insecurity, poor health seeking behaviour of our people and vaccine hesitancy, among others,’’ he said.

Dr Clement Peter, the Officer in Charge, World Health Organisation (WHO), said as the last polio endemic country in Africa, Nigeria passing three years without WPV case was a step towards certifying Africa WPV free by mid-2020.

He added that following three-year mark, Nigeria has commenced the process of documentation towards the final certification by the Africa Regional Certification Commission (ARCC).

Peter said Nigeria would submit its final country data for evaluation in March 2020, provided there were no new polio cases.

He said if ARCC was satisfied with the country’s documentation, Nigeria would be certified WPV free between March and June 2020.

Dr Paul Basinga, the Country Director, Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, however urged the federal government not to take the current success for granted.

He reiterated the commitment of the foundation to work with the agency to reach the last child with life saving vaccines.

He added that the foundation was also committed at strengthening the surveillance to detect and respond to any threat of outbreaks especially in hard to reach and conflict-affected communities.

© 2019 NNN NEWS NIGERIA. EDITOR@NNN.COM.NG