By Hassan Zaggi
As Nigeria enters the final phase inits concerted efforts to end Wild Polio Virus (WPV) in the country, political,traditional and religious leaders at all levels have been advised to continueto provide the needed support towards ensuring that Nigeria is declared polio free by 2020.
Since the past three years, no Nigerian child have been paralysed as a result of polio virus.
The Executive Director, National Primary Health Care (NPHC), Dr. FaisalShuaib, made the call at a media briefing to mark three consecutive years without WPV case in Nigeria.
He noted that for Nigeria to be certified polio free next year, there was the need for sustained political commitment, funding, surveillance and increased quality of routine immunization coverage across the country.
He argued that his agency, since the past two years, has continued to improve the quality of routine immunization across the country, but however, noted that more needed to be done.
“It is pertinent to state that political leaders at all levels would need tocontinue to provide the needed oversight and financial support for Immunization Plus Days (IPDs), while our traditional and religious leaders need to sustain the mobilization of their people to continuously accept vaccination for their children and wards.
“We urge our development partners and donors to sustain their technical and financial support to the programme until the job is done.
“To our caregivers, we salute you and encourage you to continue to present your children for vaccination against polio as every additional dose boosts the child’s immunity,” he reiterated.
While warning that the next few months remain very delicate in the fight against polio in Nigeria, Shuiab notedthat, “completely eradicating all types of Polio Virus will be one of the greatest achievements in human history.
“ It will have a lasting, positive impact on the African continent and indeed the world’s health systems for generations to come.
“However, we must not take for granted, our current success because it is one which we must delicately manage with cautious euphoria and resilience.
“It is imperative that all stakeholders continue to support the Polio programme, through technical,financial support and political oversight to prevent the reoccurrence of the WPV and stop the spread of all the other types of Polio virus in all states and LGAs in Nigeria.”
On its part, the United Nation Children’s Fund (UNICEF), has reiterated that it would continue to provide Nigeria with the needed support until the country is certified free of polio.
The Deputy Country Representative in Nigeria, Pernille Iron side, expressed the commitment of UNICEF to supporting the government to ensure that every Nigerian child is immunized.
She called on stakeholders to intensify efforts towards sustaining the achievements of polio in the country.
According to her: “We are glad abou tour roles in the fight against polio in Nigeria. We ensured community mobilization; going from house to house to immunized children. UNICEF will continue to support Nigeria.