Immunisation: NMA Warns Against Politicisation Of Health Issues


Medical Practitioners in Edo State have appealed to Nigerians not to politicise health issues in view of its attendant effect on the populace.

The Chairman of Nigerian Medical Association, Edo Chapter, Emmanuel Osaigbovo, made the appeal on Tuesday while speaking at the 2017 Physicians’ Week in Benin City, the Edo State capital.

Osaigbovo decried the effect of the rumours making the rounds on the social media that the military are allegedly infecting people with diseases in the guise of immunisation.

“Immunisation is not something bad, it’s actually good. Please, we should not politicise immunisation, because immunisation helps us to prevent childhood illnesses, for instance like polio, diphtheria, measles,” he said.

“So, if they now bring politics into it, it’s going to affect our health indices. Our childhood mortality rate is very high, Nigeria is one of the worst in the world.”

The rumour mills especially the social media platforms have been awash with stories of some sinister plans allegedly by the military to infect children with diseases through immunisation.

Although the claims have been refuted by the Federal government and military authorities, they created fear, leading some parents to reject vaccination while some others had pulled their kids out of schools in Ondo and Rivers last week as a result.

“The way I heard the rumours the other day, it’s very unfair. They said twenty-something children died the other day because of immunisation. So, me, I’m afraid,” a woman said.

“For now, I’m not sure I will immunise my baby, after all, I can do it maybe by next year not this year, I can’t try it.”

Doctors are not pleased with the development and as they celebrate the physicians’ week they called on parents to do the right thing for their children by ensuring they are immunised.

“The women refused for them for them to examine the children or do anything with the children. They refused, they said they don’t trust anybody,” Professor Vivian Omuemu said during her lecture on declining immunisation coverage.

“So, it’s going to be a problem. We need to do some targeted social mobilisation to educate people and dispel this rumours.”

The Edo State Commissioner for Health, Dr David Osifo, hopes the rumours will not lead to a rise in preventable diseases.

He said, “We have not been able to confirm any of these rumours. They are just rumours and we have been trying our best to convince our people that this is not true.

“Like you heard in this delivery just now, with this kind of rumours going round the rate immunisation is going to drop. And we are just praying that our children will not be coming down with immunisation preventable diseases because this rumour is doing a lot of damage.”

Dr Osifo urged the people to ignore the rumours and take advantage of the health programmes of the government to keep their children free of preventable diseases.

Polio Eradication: Sultan Pledges Support For Health Agencies

Governor bello, Sultan
Sultan of Sokoto, Alhaji Sa’ad Abubakar III

The Sultan of Sokoto, Muhammad Sa’ad Abubakar III, says he is committed to working with health agencies across the country to eradicate polio and other childhood killer diseases in Nigeria.

He was speaking during the flag off of the sub-national immunisation plus days organised by the Sokoto State Primary Health Care Development Agency in Sokoto.

The Sultan appealed to the people to accept the vaccines, and the routine immunisation programme so that they can effectively fight polio and other child-killer diseases like measles, diphtheria, whooping cough and tetanus, among others.

READ ALSO: Sokoto Govt Vaccinates 1.8 Million Children Against Polio

Oyo Targets Three Million People For Immunization Against Polio, Tetanus


The Oyo State government has targeted at least three millions people as the beneficiaries of the 2017 National Immunization Plus Days (NIPDs), against Poliomyelitis and Tetanus Toxoid.

The State Commissioner for Health, Dr. Azeez Adeduntan, who stated this in Ibadan, said that the first round of the NIPDs will hold between March 25 and 28, 2017 across the state.

He added that pregnant women would be immunized against Tetanus Toxoid and counseled on health promotion.

The Commissioner disclosed that 1,615,441 children between ages 0 and 5 years were targeted for Oral Polio Vaccination, while 171,855 women of child-bearing ages would be vaccinated against Tetanus.

Also, 4,152 children below age one who had missed their routine immunization schedule would be vaccinated accordingly with the due antigens.

He further explained that the NIPDs is a supplemental Immunization Campaign geared to ensure herd immunity among the under-five years children, as well as to vaccinate un-immunized under one year old children against all other preventable diseases.

The Commissioner stressed that the state government would not relent on its efforts to improve health care delivery in the state, noting that the immunization exercise was a priority.

Polio: Sokoto Govt. Vaccinates 1.8m Children In November

Polio vaccines in sokoto stateSokoto state says it has vaccinated 1.8 million children against polio in the November supplementary rounds conducted in the state.

The November supplementary rounds is being carried out in six northern states to curtail the spread of wild polio virus in the region.

Nigeria’s hope for a polio free certification by the World Health Organzation (WHO) suffered a major setback in August when four new cases of wild polio virus were discovered in Borno state.

The resurgence of the virus informed government’s decision to turn attention to the immunization of eligible children in the region.

Some selected states in northern Nigeria, have also witnessed massive deployment of staff and vaccines for polio immunization in the last three months.

The Director, Polio Emergency Centre, Sokoto. Aminu Shehu, said that the agency has also prioritized giving the vaccine to children who are in transit.

“We also have motor parks immunization for people that are coming into the state and people who are leaving their houses before the vaccinators reach their houses, so the motor park immunisation is one of the ways we reach out to those likely to be missed,” he said.

The Executive Secretary of the Sokoto State Primary Health Care Development Agency, Sani Labaran, explained the tactics adopted by the agency to ensure that migrant children are vaccinated.

“We have a border post team stationed there for every person coming in with eligible child. That child must be immunized before coming into the state and then, we intensify strong surveillance system.

“We ensure that everybody, every child in every community, we scrutinise and ensure that these children are brought for immunization,” he explained.

Meanwhile, health officials in the field say the intervention of the Sultan has helped the more residents to accept the vaccine for their children.

The Chief Nursing Officer, Women and Children Hospital in Sokoto State, Halima Baba-Sirajo, said: “In the past they use to say polio, there is family planning in it, it doesn’t allow them to have babies.

“But with the intervention of His Eminence, the Sultan of Sokoto and other team members creating awareness and enlightening them, telling them it is not true, they are accepting it now more than ever before.”

Rotary International Partners With Rivers Govt. To Eradicate Polio

PolioA global organisation, Rotary International, says there is need for massive intercontinental collaboration to end polio in Nigeria.

The International Director of the group, Brad Howard, made the assertion when he led 35 members of the group from the Bahamas and U.S. on a courtesy call on the Rivers State Governor, Mr Nyesom Wike.

He added that their visit to the Government House in Port Harcourt was part of events to mark the Rotary International West Africa Project Fair.

Mr Howard expressed worry over the resurgence of four new cases of Polio disease in Borno State, northeast Nigeria.

He, however, noted that the disease needed a collaborative effort to ensure it was completely eradicated.

In his response, Governor Wike assured his guests that the state government would continue to provide the needed support.

FG To Increase Health Budget In 2017 – Udoma

Budget, Udo Udoma, HealthThe Minister of Budget and National Planning, Udo Udoma, says that the Federal Government will increase budgetary allocation to the health sector in the 2017 budget, in its commitment to improving the sector in Nigeria.

Mr Udoma made this known when the Regional Director of World Health Organisation (WHO), Dr. Matshidiso Rebecca Moeti, visited him in his office in Abuja, Nigeria’s capital.

“This administration is committed to providing adequate fund for the health sector.

“We hope to upscale the budget for health next year compared to what is obtained in this year’s budget. Also we are designing effective policies to improve the sector,” he said.

While commending the WHO for aligning their programmes with government’s priorities, the Minister stated that healthcare provision was a top priority for the present administration.

He congratulated Dr. Moeti for being the first woman to hold the office of the WHO Regional Director and also praised her for fighting against diseases such as AIDS in Africa.

In an earlier speech, the WHO official commended Nigeria for its success in handling a number of diseases such as Ebola and also removing Nigeria from the list of endemic countries suffering from Polio.

She further solicited for efforts to sustaining the gains achieved so far.

“How Nigeria has successfully handled number of diseases like Ebola and Polio has been commendable especially in the area of preparedness, surveillance.

“We need to sustain the polio gain until totally removed,” she said.

Dr. Moeti said that WHO is pleased with Nigeria for identifying and making the health sector a top priority.

NPHCDA Seeks Increased Local Funding For Vaccines

VaccinesThe National Primary Health Care Development Agency (NPHCDA) is seeking increased local funding to sustain immunization in the country as international donors withdraw support.

The Executive Secretary of agency, Dr Ado Mohammed, at a meeting with stakeholders in the health sector, said that Nigeria has been de-listed from the list of countries benefiting from international donor agencies after the economy was re-based in 2015.

Chairman National Immunization Financing Task Team, Ben Anyene, also explained that it costs about 14,000 Naira to fully immunize a child but only 25% of this cost is financed by the Nigerian government.

International donor agencies account for about 75% of total financing for vaccines used for immunization in Nigeria.

Routine immunization has helped Nigeria to reduce the spread of vaccine preventable diseases in recent times.

For instance, no new case of polio has been recorded in the last 20 months as the World Health Organization removed Nigeria from the list of polio endemic nations.

Nigeria and a few other developing countries have benefited from international support for effective immunization since the year 2000.

Conveners of the meeting agreed that it has become important to develop a sustainable local funding mechanism for immunization as international donor agencies withdraw their supports.

Borno Records Zero Case Of Polio

PolioIn spite of security challenges Borno State is battling with, there are indications that polio has been kicked out of the state.

Borno, ranked among the 11 high risk states in northern Nigeria, recorded its last case in the year 2013.

Officials attributed the success story to constant immunisation programmes across the state.

Over the years, young Nigerians crippled by polio have found themselves dealing with the negligence of their parents.

The common practice in Maiduguri, Borno State capital, like most northern states, is for polio survivors, who are usually from poor homes to hit the streets every other day begging for alms.

Faced with the sad reality of a bleak future, the polio survivors now engage in peer education and advocacy promoting Immunisation.

Community leaders have also been actively engaged in the campaign for the need for their subjects to embrace polio immunisation.

They understand the danger of not immunising kids and now, all suspicion and ill will towards the vaccine, has diminished.

Executive Director of the state Primary Health Care Development Agency, Dr. Sule Meleh, said that the converging of Internally Displaced Persons in the state capital, had offered an opportunity for health workers to reach out to more kids.

The Rotary Club has been on the forefront of the anti-polio campaign. Officials are proud of Borno State’s achievements.

The periodic house to house vaccination, which kicked off last Saturday, ended on Wednesday.

But the vaccination and campaign has by no means ended with the kids themselves cooperative and excited to be polio free.

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.

‘Declare State Of Emergency On Health Sector’, Medical Association Tells FG

Cholera outbreak in South SudanThe Nigerian Medical Association has advised the Federal Government to urgently address the challenges in the primary healthcare system by declaring a state of emergency on the health sector.

Addressing a news conference in Abuja on Sunday ahead of the 2015 Physicians’ week, the President of the Association, Dr. Kayode Obembe, said the Federal Government needed to tackle cases of measles and other vaccines’ preventable diseases just like it addressed and eradicated Polio.

Dr. Obembe added that since there was no specific treatment for measles, primary prevention of it and other vaccines preventable diseases remained the best option to eradicate all such diseases which have claimed the lives of many children in Nigeria.

Polio-Endemic Countries: Buhari Applauds Nigeria’s Removal From List

buhariPresident Muhammadu Buhari has commended the announcement by World Health Organisation (WHO) that Polio is no longer endemic in Nigeria.

A statement released by Femi Adesina, the Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, confirmed that President Buhari is delighted by the announcement, which follows the absence of any case of the wild Polio virus in Nigeria since July 24, 2014.

Buhari also applauded the concerted efforts of government officials, health workers, volunteer groups, civil society, religious leaders, traditional rulers and international partners, which resulted in this historic achievement.

While he joins other Nigerians and the global community in celebrating this achievement, President Buhari urged 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.

President Buhari Pledges Polio Eradication In Nigeria

PolioPresident Muhammadu Buhari says his administration will do all within its powers to ensure that no Nigerian child is ever infected with polio again.

The President made the statement on Saturday, in Abuja, Nigeria’s Federal Capital Territory.

Speaking at a brief event in the Presidential Villa to mark Nigeria’s successful completion of one year without any reported case of the wild polio virus, President Buhari pledged that the Federal Government would mobilize and deploy all necessary resources to efficiently complete the task of eradicating polio from the country.

“Today, 25th of July, 2015, Nigeria has successfully completed one year without any case reported of the wild polio virus.

“Achieving this feat has placed us firmly on the path to eradicating this paralyzing disease from our land.

“I seize this opportunity to call on governors, our traditional and religious leaders, the private sector and our mothers and fathers to redouble their efforts to ensure that every child and every new born baby is vaccinated with the polio vaccine and other lifesaving routine vaccines,” President Buhari said.

The President personally vaccinated one of his grandchildren against polio at the occasion to demonstrate his commitment to eradicating the virus from Nigeria as well as the safety and efficacy of the polio vaccine.

President Buhari thanked all Nigerians and foreign partners who have supported the country’s polio eradication programme in several ways.

He said that he looked forward to the formal declaration of Nigeria as a polio-free country in 2017.