50,000 North East children yet to receive Polio vaccine – NPHCDA

Immunization of a child used to illustrate the story. [Photo credit: Lagosmums]

The National Primary Health Care Development Agency (NPHCDA) says at least 50,000 children are yet to be reached with wild polio vaccine in some parts of North-East due to security challenges.

Faisal Shuaib, the Executive Director of NPHCDA, made this known during the investiture of the 11th District Governor of Rotary International, District 9125, on Saturday in Abuja.

The NPHCDA boss was part of those who received a special award from the organisation at the ceremony.

Mr Shuaib said: “We still have almost 50,000 children that we are trying to reach in the next few months.

“That is why the Chief of Army Staff Yusuf Buratai went to Borno last month and reactivated `The Buratai Initiative’.

He explained that the `Theatre Command Buratai Initiative Task Force’ (TCBITF) was a collaborative effort between the army, the NPHCDA, and the Federal Ministry of Health.

Mr Shuaib said the initiative was to vaccinate kids in the security compromised areas and ensure they get the health services they require beyond the polio vaccine.

“We are now seeing how the military personnel were collaborating with health officers to ensure that the 50,000 kids that were previously un-reached are now being reached with the medicine and vaccines,’’ he said.

The official expressed optimism that Nigeria would be certified a polio-free nation in spite of security challenges in some parts of the country.

“In the next two to three months, the World Health Organisation would commence the processes of certifying Nigeria polio-free country.

“This is bearing in mind that no wild poliovirus has been isolated anywhere in Nigeria. This is incredible and it is one of the requirements for Nigeria to be certified polio-free,’’ he said.

Mr Shuaib said the agency was keeping its fingers cross to ensure that all kids in Nigeria were given the vaccine they need to ensure that they do not have poliovirus.

According to him, the agency is looking at everywhere in the country to ensure that no wild poliovirus transmission is taking place.

The executive director said Rotary International was a major contributor towards eradicating polio globally.

He, therefore, said the award was in recognition of what NPHCDA has been doing, noting that Rotary International is the first organisation that recognises the front line workers that helped Nigeria to stop Ebola outbreak in 2014.

”The award is not for me as a person alone but all the first responders who worked in the Ebola emergency outbreak response,” he said.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that Mr Shuaib served as the Incident Manager and Head of the Nigeria Ebola Emergency Operation Center during the July to October 2014 outbreak of Ebola Virus Disease.

As Head of the Nigeria Ebola Emergency Operation Center, he coordinated a team of over 1,000 health workers and volunteers in the country’s response to the outbreak.

In his remarks, the 11th District Governor, District 9125, Victor Onukwugha, said one of the strategic objectives of the club was to provide humanitarian services and support the government to end wild poliovirus. (NAN)


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