Nigeria is still one of the three countries with the wild polio virus with states like Kano and Yobe having cases despite claims by the Federal Government to have made successes as regards taming the virus.
The Supervising Minister of State for Health, Khaliru Alhassan, on Thursday said the Federal Government had contained the spread of the virus except in Kano and Yobe.
Mr. Alhassan made this known when he gave update on the success being recorded by government towards total eradication of polio in the country.
He said the virus is now confined to only five local government areas compared to the more generalised situation in the past.
“We have made tremendous progress, as you are aware that this year we have only recorded six cases against 51 the same time last year. So, this is a remarkable achievement and if we maintain the tempo we are confident that we are going to interrupt the transmission.
“Presently, we have the problem in only two states, that is, Kano and Yobe states and also only in particular LGAs.
“This is giving us an impression why we need to work more; we have been able to localise these cases in one geo-political zone. It will make our job a lot easier.”
But polio virus has become extinct in most countries of the world except in Afghanistan, and Pakistan, where militants target and kill anti-polio campaigners and vaccine givers.
The World Health Organisation, WHO, says “failure to stop polio in these last remaining areas could result in as many as 200 000 new cases every year, within 10 years, all over the world.
According to Mr. Alhassan, in the last one year, 96 per cent of the 774 local government areas have been polio free while 95 per cent of the 36 states and Federal Capital Territory of Abuja have been without polio in the last one year.
In his remarks, Vice-President Namadi Sambo said that with the impressive gains being recorded in the fight against the polio virus, the disease would soon be completely eradicated from the country.
He, therefore, reassured that government would continue to give political support, ensure sustained funding of the programame, procurement of the polio vaccines and support the introduction of
other new vaccines.
Mr. Sambo said the government would also continue to work with the traditional, religious leaders, development partners and other community based organisations, to ensure polio-free society.
He commended states’ commissioners of health, local government chairmen, traditional rulers, especially the commitment of His Eminence, the Sultan of Sokoto and the Shehu of Bama, as demonstrated through the Northern Traditional Leaders Committee on Primary Health Care (NTLC).
The vice president also expressed delight over the support of local and international partners such as Aliko Dangote Foundation, Bill and Melinda Gate Foundation, WHO and others for their unwavering support towards eradication of the virus.
He said that the task of polio eradication was enormous and urged all stakeholders to continue to work collectively in order to achieve meaningful results, especially in the areas where there was security challenge and other risk factors.
Mr. Sambo urged the stakeholders to also ensure success in the eradication of other diseases such as measles, whooping cough and diarrhoea.
In his remark, the Executive Secretary of the National Primary Health Care Development Agency, Ado Mohammed, commended the efforts of the three tiers of governments in the eradication of the virus.
He urged stakeholders to sustain the achievement by constantly immunising children, especially at the border towns, to avoid the importation of the virus into the country.
Commissioners from states also gave highlights on the achievements of the programme so far.
Present at the meeting were the Governor Isa Yuguda of Bauchi State, the Deputy Governor of Kaduna State, Nuhu Bajoga, representatives of World Health Organisation and UNICEF as well as commissioners of health from various states of the federation.