Speaking at a press conference in Bauchi, the Incidence Manager Emergency Operations Centre, Dr. Mansur Dada said that some people have misunderstood Nigeria’s status which may lead to disruptions of the routine polio vaccination exercise.
He dismissed the belief by some Nigerians that polio has been eradicated in the country.
It will be recalled that Nigeria was declared to be taken off the list of polio endemic countries at the 70th United Nations General Assembly by WHO Director General, Dr. Margaret Chan in September 2015.
Dr. Dada added that Nigeria is yet to be declared polio free country but was only removed from the list polio endemic countries.
The delisting of Nigeria was believed to have been possible by the sustained and steady progress of the polio eradication programme since 2013.
According to the Polio Bulletin, since the polio cases dropped from 122 in 2012 to 53 in 2013, the progress was sustained and by the end of 2014, only six cases were reported and there has been no reported case of polio in any part of the country since July, 24th, 2014.
“Since World Health Organisation (WHO) announced that polio is no longer endemic in Nigeria, some people are already celebrating that polio has been eradicated in Nigeria and do not want to administer immunisation on their children or support polio campaign programs,”
He said that Nigeria was removed from the polio list after spending12 months without recording any case of polio.
The expert informed that a country must spend 3 years free of polio before it could be declared polio free.
“There is progress in polio eradication but we are yet to be declared free of polio but by 24th of July 2017 if we do not record any polio case, Nigeria will be declared polio free,” he added.
He therefore called on religious and traditional leaders across the 20 Local Government Area of the state to support the polio immunisation campaign Programme which is aimed at eradicating polio in the state and the country at large.
He also called on parents to always immunize their children against polio virus saying that all campaigns and activities on polio will continue until 2017 with the hope that the country attained the status of a polio free status.