The Federal Government has said it is determined to eradicate the Circulating Vaccine-Derived Polio Virus Type 2 in 2023.
The FG also said 96 per cent of the Local Government Areas in the country have achieved 100 per cent in the outbreak response against the Circulating Vaccine-Derived Polio Virus Type 2.
The Executive Director and Chief Executive Officer of the National Primary Health Care Development Agency, Dr. Faisal Shuaib said this at the Northern Traditional Leaders’ Committee on Primary Health Care Development Delivery Review Meeting in Abuja.
If a population is seriously under-immunised, there are enough susceptible children for the excreted vaccine-derived polioviruses to begin circulating in the community. If the vaccine-virus is able to circulate for a prolonged period uninterrupted, it can mutate and, for 12-18 months, reacquire neurovirulence. These viruses are called circulating vaccine-derived polioviruses.
The lower the population immunity, the longer these viruses survive. The longer they survive, the more they replicate, change, and exchange genetic material with other enteroviruses as they spread through a community.
However, if a population is fully immunised against polio, it will be protected against the spread of both wild and vaccine strains of poliovirus.
While commending the northern traditional leaders’ significant contributions to eradicating the Wild Polio Virus, Dr. Shuaib said “We would not have been able to eradicate WPV without the northern traditional leaders’ committee on polio eradication.
“We are making progress, but the progress that we need to make this year is important because while reducing the number of cVDPV2 by over 90 per cent, we have to get down to zero. The target for 2023 is not a further reduction but getting it to zero. We know that if there is anywhere that the message will resonate, it has to be in this room because you are the people that will make it happen.
“For the first time in the history of our polio eradication activities around cVDPV2, we were able to achieve 96 per cent of the LGAs actually scoring 100 per cent in terms of the children that we were able to reach. This has never happened, especially when you look at the quantum of LGAs and the difficulties in the area of insecurity that we have seen in some of these areas.
“While this is the first time, we have seen this type of coverage, we don’t want it to be the last but we want it to be the standard, that every time we go out there for a campaign, no child should be missed and that is exactly what you did and we got rid of WPV. The cVDPV2 is no different and that is the level of commitment that is required for us to finish the job.”
He said there will be intensified routine immunisation campaigns in February, March, and April to reach the children that have been missed.
The Minister of Health, Dr. Osagie Ehanire said the incoming administration needs to invest in primary health care.
Dr. Ehanire said “We know that the poor health indices in maternal and child mortality and morbidity are generated largely in rural areas with no access to any form of healthcare. We need to do more in terms of advocacy to the coming administration and philanthropists to invest in our PHC and for traditional leaders to demand their own standard PHC, one per political ward, from state and local governments or politicians running for office
“Routine immunisation is a standard service at PHCs and it is free, safe, effective, and available across the country. Parents and caregivers need to be mobilised to ensure that children receive the vaccines according to the Nigerian RI schedule.
On his part, the Sultan of Sokoto, Sa’ad Abubakar pledged to continue mobilising every household to demand PHC services, especially vaccines for the children.
Abubakar, who was represented by the Emir of Argungu and Chairman of the NTLC, Sumail’a Mera said the review meetings provide opportunities to discuss scheduled activities for the period and beyond.
“We will also access progress made, and challenges faced, share good practices, and exchange new ideas. It is also an avenue to learn about new programmes and initiatives of our government for the overall development and well-being of our people. We are therefore always happy to attend and contribute our best to the discussions.
“We assure you that we will continue to do our best to ensure that every husband and every mother is mobilized and motivated to demand for PHC services, especially vaccines for their children and family,” he noted.