WHO Cautions FG against Outbreak of Polio

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  • State govts won’t relent effort, says Ambode

By Gboyega Akinsanmi

The World Health Organisation (WHO) at the weekend disclosed that Nigeria was yet to be certified free from the Polio virus and could record fresh cases any moment if proper measures were not taken.

This warning came barely one year after the WHO announced that polio was no longer endemic in Nigeria, thus leaving Pakistan and Afghanistan as the remaining countries where the virus was still endemic.

The organisation’s National Surveillance Officer, Dr. Clement Nwaeke, issued the warning at the launching and official presentation of the anti-polio animated movie/comic book’ authored by Mr. Olugbenga Kuye held in Lagos.

Nwaeke said the solution for Nigeria to maintain its current status and achieve more “is for the central government and states to intensify their sensitisation campaign on the need for residents to immunise their children against the virus.”

The WHO official warned that the removal of the country’s name from the endemic list “does not translate to being free from the virus completely. Nigeria can record another case of polio.”

“Nigeria  is at a critical stage now. Everyone must work to ensure that the country does not record another case before July 2017. If this happens, the country will be certified Polio free,” the WHO official added.

He explained that the removal of the country from the list became necessary following unreported case since 2014 when the last case was reported in Kaduna State.

Also speaking, Lagos State Governor, Mr. Akinwunmi Ambode, assured the WHO official that the state governors would not relent in ensuring that the country does not record another polio case in the country.

Ambode, who was represented by the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Women Affairs and Poverty Alleviation (WAPA), Mrs. Nike Oduwole, added that materials have been distributed to ensure that residents of Lagos were aware of the dangers caused by the disease.

Speaking on the reason for the project, Kuye observed that the challenges confronting the country in the fight against polio was language barrier, saying Nigerians prefers being taught in their local dialect to English.

But Senator Gbenga Ashafa representing Lagos East senatorial district said since the country achieved Ebola Free certification, it would not relent in attaining polio-free status.