Nigeria’s hope of being certified Polio-free by the World Health
Organisation (WHO), next year, might have been dashed, as two new cases
have been reported. Health authorities in Abuja have, however, remained
silent, with key officials refusing to be quoted.
The two cases of Wild Polio Virus (WPV) were discovered in Gwarzo and
Jere LGAs of Borno State, yesterday. A top health official said the
country has decided to term it a ‘suspicion’, while it seeks the best
approach to break the news to the public.
It was learnt WHO could announce the development at a press
conference in Geneva tomorrow. Last month, July 24, Nigeria celebrated
two years without any new case of Polio because the last known infection
was in July 2014. It is uncertain how the WHO will handle the
WHO and Rotary, which co-funds polio eradication, warned against
relaxing surveillance and maintaining commitment. Last week, a number of
civil society organisations raised concern about N12.8bn immunisation
fund yet to be released only 4 months to the end of 2016.
“We have less than five months to the end of 2016 yet nothing has
been released for immunization, for procurement of vaccines and other
logistics,” said Dr Aminu Magashi, project director for Community Health
and Research Initiative, part of the coalition Partnership for Advocacy
for Child and Family Health, PACFaH.
“As a nation we cannot continue to depend on development partners to
buy the vaccines we need in the country yet we have funds for such
purposes in our budget,” he added