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FG preparedness remains first prevention to polio in Nigeria ― Tomori

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The leading Professor of Virologist, Oyewole Tomori, who spearheaded Nigeria’s effort to kick out polio from the country has said preparedness remains the first law to any prevention in the country.

Tomori, while reacting to the outbreak of cVDPV2 in some states of the federation in an interview stressed that since the country was declared indigenous wild polio-free, it has relaxed and its routine vaccination rate had also gone down.

Tomori further said that since the coronavirus pandemic, the relevant agencies responsible for vaccination have overly focused on the pandemic and forgotten other diseases.

Tomori, therefore, advised that all relevant agencies should get their surveillance active and alive, in their states to identify and detect cases.

“With a reliable and robust disease surveillance system, which efficiently manages data for planning and action, it will be easy to detect early and on time, a sporadic case before it becomes a public health event of national or international concern,” he added.

Tomori reemphasizes that the polio war in the country would never end until the entire world was polio-free, and while Nigeria wait for that to happen, they should ensure that every Nigerian child born every year should be fully immunised.

“In addition, we must maintain our immunisation coverage to at least 80 per cent every year in every State, every LGA, every ward, and every household.”

World Health Organization (WHO) Africa region certified Nigeria polio-free by the Africa Regional Certification Commission for Polio Eradication (ARCC), as Nigeria achieved the wild polio virus-free status.

While Nigeria is wild polio-free, the National Primary Care Development Agency (NPHCDA), said, “Another type of poliovirus called Circulating Vaccine-Derived Polio Virus is still causing polio outbreaks in Nigeria.

Meanwhile, NPHCDA had in 2019, disclosed only 18 cases of the CVDPV were reported, the agency also stated that in 2020, only eight cases were reported.

It further explained that “cVDPV occurs when a weakened strain of the poliovirus contained in the oral polio vaccine circulates among the under-immunized population for a long time.

It added that the cVDPV outbreaks are stopped using the same tactics that enabled progress against WPV polio, ensuring every child is given an oral polio vaccine in a high-quality immunisation campaign nOPV2 is an improved oral polio vaccine based on the current oral polio vaccine, that has been proven effective and safe in eradicating wild poliovirus from Nigeria.

Also, the Agency has continued to warn that Nigerian children aged 0-59 months were at immediate risk of contracting the poliovirus following the recent outbreak of the Circulating Vaccine Derived Polio Virus in Nigeria.

This is as Lagos, Kebbi, Federal Capital Territory, Sokoto, Kaduna, Niger, Ekiti, and Kwara states reported 68 cases of the CVDPV2 within one week.

Six states reported 68 cases of the new strain between December 21 and December 28, 2021.

The report which was collated by the Ministry of health, the WHO, UNICEF, and GAVI stated that “64 cases of circulating vaccine-derived poliovirus type 2 were reported in the past week.

35 in Kebbi, eight in Sokoto, six each in Kaduna and Nasarawa, four in Kwara, two in FCT, one each in Niger, Ekiti, and Lagos. There are now 385 cases in 2021.

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