Nigeria says it’s on course to win fight against polio

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UNICEF health consultant Hadiza Waya (R) tries to immunise a child during vaccination campaign against polio at Hotoro-Kudu, Nassarawa district of Kano in northwest Nigeria, on April 22, 2017. The World Health Organization said116 million children are to receive polio vaccines in 13 countries in west and central Africa as part of efforts to eradicate the disease on the continent. "The synchronised vaccination campaign, one of the largest of its kind ever implemented in Africa, is part of urgent measures to permanently stop polio on the continent," the WHO said. / AFP PHOTO / PIUS UTOMI EKPEI (Photo credit should read PIUS UTOMI EKPEI/AFP via Getty Images)
FILE PHOTO: UNICEF health consultant Hadiza Waya (R) tries to immunise a child during vaccination campaign against polio at Hotoro-Kudu, Nassarawa district of Kano in northwest Nigeria, on April 22, 2017. (Photo credit PIUS UTOMI EKPEI/AFP via Getty Images)

Nigeria’s National Primary Health Care Development Agency (NPHCDA) on Tuesday said the country is on course to win the fight against polio in the shortest possible time.

At a summit in Abuja to review the routine immunization against polio in Nigeria, the agency said three years and counting without the wild polio virus in the most populous African country was nothing short of a milestone.

“The toward a polio-free Nigeria has begun. However, there’s a need for health workers to access insecure areas in Borno and some parts of the northeast region,” said Faisal Shuaib, head of the NPHCDA.

Experts attending the two-day summit in Abuja are expected to review Nigeria’s efforts toward polio eradication and identify gaps.

According to Shuaib, progress has been recorded on reaching inaccessible children, sustaining communication and social mobilization, strengthening routine immunization and vaccine management and accountability.

“Together, we can finish the job of flushing polio out of the country,” the official said, further expressing the optimism that Nigeria will soon obtain a polio eradication certificate.

He said health officials in the country had worked tirelessly with a very strong surveillance system.

As recently as 2012, Nigeria had accounted for more than half of all polio cases worldwide, according to the World Health Organization.

Nigeria’s last polio case was recorded in August 2016, making it the last country in Africa to record wild polio virus infections.

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