By Nahimat Adekoga
The Nigeria’s Minister of Health, Prof. Isaac Adewole has ordered the deployment of a national emergency response team to Borno State.
This comes after an outbreak of wild polio virus was confirmed in the State, after Nigeria was declared polio free for about two years.
The emergency response team would comprise government and other health partners for immediate and robust polio vaccination campaign, targeting eligible children to prevent the spread of the virus locally and internationally.
Prof. Oyewole said that the government’s overriding priority is to rapidly boost immunity in the affected areas to ensure that no more children are affected by the terrible disease.
He assured Nigerians that the Federal Ministry of Health through the National Primary Healthcare Development Agency with the support of partners, including WHO and UNICEF, are conducting detailed risk analysis to clearly ascertain the extent of circulation of the virus and to assess overall levels of population immunity in order to guide the response.
The Minister explained further that children in adjoining states of Yobe, Adamawa and Gombe will also be immunized, bringing the number to about five million in the four states.
The outbreak had affected two children from Gwoza and Jere Local Government areas of the State.
Prof. Adewole reiterated the Federal Government’s commitment to achieving a polio-free Nigeria and assuresd the general public that this outbreak will be controlled as soon as possible, adding that government will provide the needed resources to contain it.
He, therefore, called on other states and local governments to redouble their efforts by safeguarding their territories from importation of the virus by providing the required leadership and ensuring accountability among healthcare workers and other stakeholders.
It would be recalled that Nigeria accounted for more than half of all polio cases worldwide in 2012, but the country made significant strides in recent years, going two years without recording a single case.
This progress has been as a result of concerted efforts by all levels of government, civil society, traditional and religious leaders as well as dedicated health workers.