Polio: Nigeria Scales Through First International Assessment, Says WHO Reps


Nigeria is set to eradicate Polio as it approached the third year of international certification, leading to a polio-free country.

This is according to the representative of the World Health Organisation in Adamawa state Mr Abdulrahman Pela during the flag-off ceremony of the 2019 first-round Maternal New-born and Child Health Week campaign in Pela, Adamawa state.

“We have had the first international assessment which we have passed. We are expecting the second assessment in September and what we experience in the first assessment, Adamawa state was among the state selected, likewise the second assessment.

“We hope that at the end of the assessment, Nigeria will be among the other countries that have been certified polio-free.”

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He explained that more needs to be done to maintain the polio-free certification, which he mentioned an improved routine immunization.

“That is not the end though, what remains is the sustainability of what is put in place, especially in the improvement of our routine immunization, provision of maternal and child health services and surveillance, in order to identify and clampdown on the ongoing vaccine-preventable diseases.”

Also present at the flag-off were officials of the Adamawa state Ministry of Health, the Saving One Million Lives, the Adamawa State Primary Healthcare Development Agency.

WHO Certifies Gabon As Polio-free

The World Health Organization has declared Gabon a “polio-free country”, given the lack of new reported or suspected cases in the central African country.

According to a WHO statement obtained by AFP on Saturday, the UN health agency nonetheless recommended taking the necessary steps to continue monitoring for possible signs of the disease.

Gabon’s Health Minister Denise Mekam’ne Edzidzie also urged families on Saturday to “continue to immunise children and prevent a resurgence of this disease”.

Polio is a highly-infectious viral disease which mainly affects young children and can result in permanent paralysis. There is no cure and it can only be prevented through immunisation.

Cases of polio have decreased by 99 percent since 1988, when polio was endemic in 125 countries and 350,000 cases were recorded worldwide.

Now the disease is endemic only in Afghanistan and Pakistan, where the WHO recorded four cases this year — two in each country. Last year, there were 37 cases globally.


WHO De-lists Nigeria From Polio Endemic Countries

PolioThe World Health Organisation has removed Nigeria from the list of polio endemic countries.

The Regional Director of W.H.O, Dr Matshidiso Moeti, who is in Nigeria, broke the news to President Muhammadu Buhari at the State House in Abuja on Monday.

He urged the Nigerian government to sustain the efforts ahead of the 2017 target when Nigeria is expected to be declared polio-free.

Dr Moeti, who had been earlier received by the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Health, Linus Awute, along with the W.H.O delegation, also warned against complacency already displayed in some states in their efforts toward eradicating polio and other communicable diseases.

President Muhamadu Buhari expressed his satisfaction on the current polio status and vowed to maintain the status in order to meet up with the 2017 target.

Nigeria has successfully interrupted polio transmission in the last 14 months.

If the records are sustained till 2017, Nigeria will be completely certified as a polio-free country.

Three years without cases are required before a country can be declared polio-free.

The de-listing of Nigeria means that there are just two endemic countries – Pakistan and Afghanistan – where transmission of the paralysing virus has never been interrupted.

Polio is spread by poor sanitation and contaminated water which usually affects children.

The virus attacks the nervous system and can cause irreversible paralysis – usually of the legs – within hours.

In September when the news of Nigeria’s de-listing broke, President Buhari called for continued vigilance to ensure that Nigeria maintains this new status.

He directed all government Ministries, Departments and Agencies involved in the Polio eradication effort, to remain proactively engaged and on guard against the re-emergence of the virus in Nigeria.

He assured the WHO and the global community that the Federal Government would ensure that immunisation and surveillance activities continue across Nigeria, to keep the country Polio-free.