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Nigeria records giant stride over reduction in polio cases

– As WHO urges FG to strengthen partnership to surmount risks in circulating Polio Virus

By Princess-Ekwi Ajide, Abuja

The Federal government of Nigeria says it has recorded significant strides with a 60% reduction in polio cases compared to 2022 with a 95 percent decline in the incidence of Circulating Variant Polio Virus type 2 cases (cVPV2) between 2021 and 2023 as a result of parents taking responsibility for the immunization of their children to prevent vaccine-preventable diseases.
The Executive Director of the National Primary Health Care Development Agency, NPHCDA, Faisal Shuaib, who stated this at the 40th Expert Review Committee, ERC, meeting on polio and routine immunization in Abuja, said Nigeria has not recorded any case of Wild Polio Virus (WPV) since 2016.
According to him, progress has been recorded in the reduction of the number of circulating variant polio virus cases adding that the country had been able to reduce the spread of cVPV2 cases from 30 states in 2021 to just four states this year out of which only 16 local government areas from those four states were affected.
The Country Director, World Health Organisation, WHO, Walter Kazadi Mulombo, said the country has continued to deploy innovative strategies in insecure areas through stronger community engagement and collaboration with partners saying that reaching and sustaining zero cases of cVPV2 in Nigeria in 2023 is achievable if the country would continue to strengthen the partnership to surmount the current risks.
According to him, WHO has redistributed over 3000 surge staff to respond to the current epidemiology with average increase of about 20% in Sokoto, Zamfara, Kebbi and Zamfara and sufficient spread of surge staff to Southern states to sustain the gain made as more than two million children in insecure areas have been reached for the first time in three years.
He said with a successful political transition, Nigeria has continued to strive towards a journey to zero for cVPV2 since the last ERC and more than 13 rounds of SIAs have been conducted with commensurate increase in quality particularly in accessible areas.

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