Don’t go to sleep on Polio – WHO warns Nigeria

The World Health Organisation (WHO) has advised Nigeria not to go to sleep on the fact that poliomyelitis has been finally eradicated.

Speaking at the presentation of the last infected case of poliomyelitis in Africa to journalists at the weekend in Maiduguri, the WHO Representative in Nigeria, Dr. Walter Kazadi, said Nigeria needs to be vigilant and ensure that the disease does not creep into the country again.

He said: “So we need to remain vigilant, to continue surveillance and make sure that every child get immunised so that we keep immunisation coverage high enough to protect all the children. We look forward to such time that the global eradication is achieved.”

Kazadi, who noted that WHO’s target is global eradication of polio, and working at pushing the disease from Afghanistan and Pakistan, two Asian countries where the wild polio virus are still found, advised that: “What Nigeria needs to do is to remain vigilant particularly around the borders.”

The United Nations Humanitarian Coordinator in Nigeria, Mr. Edward Kallon, who presented a gift of a computer to the child last infected by the polio virus, said he is excited that polio is eradicated in Africa and that in spite of the Boko Haram crisis, a good story is coming out of Borno State, the epicentre of the crisis.

He said: “Most of you are aware that Nigeria was the last country in Africa to become polio free. We should not be complacent, ensure that children are vaccinated at the appropriate ages with right vaccines to prevent any form of this type of disease again.”

Earlier, the parents of the last child infected by poliomyelitis in Africa had recounted their experiences and counseled other parents to put up their children for immunization.

Kevin Ifedayo

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