To sustain Nigeria’ s stride, as a polio free nation, the Federal Capital Territory Administration is to vaccinate over 1.2m children against a new strain of Variant Polio Virus type2.
The Acting Secretary Health and Human Services Secretariat, FCTA Mr Malan Haruna
who stated this during the flag-off of Routine Immunization Intensification Campaign in Abuja, said the children will be vaccinated with two different types of vaccines, namely: Fractional Inactivated Polio Vaccine (fIPV) and the novel oral polio Vaccine (nOPV2).
According to Mr Haruna, the measure is part of the FCT Administration’s proactive measures to ensure that children under five years are administered with the vaccines to serve as an immune booster against the circulating type2 polio strain.
Mr Haruna emphasized that even though Nigeria has been certified free of the Wild Polio Virus by WHO since August 25, 2020, the transmission of the new strain called Variant Polio Virus type2 (CVPV2) had continued in some part of the country, without any record of such a case yet in the FCT.
Contributing, the Executive Secretary, FCT Primary Health Care Board, Dr Isah Vatsa who spoke on the dangers of the new strain of type2 polio Virus, said the Virus if not checked could causes illness that may lead to paralysis in under- immunized or unimmunized population.
Speaking on the strategy to motivate parents and care givers to make their babies available for the exercise, Dr Vatsa said Nigerian made Indomie Noodles will be given to every child who receives the vaccine as an incentive, adding that temporary vaccination points would also be situated in strategic locations like Churches, Schools, Markets, Village squares and other designated centers .
His words: “… there have not been any case in the FCT, but we know that the world is a global village, and the risk of importation of either the wild polio viruses and/or circulating Variant Polio Virus is very high. In 2022 alone, Nigeria reported 168 cases of this CVPV2. For Nigeria to be completely free from Polio, we must interrupt the residual risk of all forms of poliovirus and boost Routine Immunization coverage in the country…We have recorded only 14 cases in Nigeria in 2023”.
“we are starting in the FCT today 29th July 2023 till 11th August, it is a supplemental immunization exercise aimed at interrupting the risk of transmission of all forms of the polio virus and boosting the Routine Immunization coverage in the FCT. The target is to reach and vaccinate every child from 0 -59 months of age in the FCT, irrespective of their previous vaccination status.” Vatsa said
The Representative of WHO Integrated Health Service Delivery in the FCT, Dr Kumshida Balami, who noted that there had been 89% decline of polio in Nigeria, said efforts were ongoing to bridge surveillance gap, boost children’s immunity, strengthen collaboration between security and traditional leaders, address poor sanitation and ensure that no child is left unvaccinated, including children in the IDP Camps.
“We have issues regarding missed children in hard-to-reach communities, major risk associated with the transmission of the virus, low immunity to type 2 poliovirus, and insecurity among others.This is why we are here to inform residents about the immunisation campaign and the strategies employed to leave no child behind,” she said.
The vaccination which is programmed to hold in two phases, the first phase will begin on 29th July 2023 till 4th August, and will cover 5 Area Councils, namely Abaji, Kwali, Kuje, Gwagwalada & Bwari Area Councils, while the second phase will commence from 5th August till 11th August 2023 strictly in Abuja Municipal Area Council (AMAC).
Remi Johnson, Edited By Grace Namiji
Written by: Kevin Nwabueze
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