The Anambra State Government, in collaboration with partner agencies, would commence a four-day National Immunization Plus Days (NIPDs) against polio across the state.
The exercise is in line with the approval from the National Primary Healthcare Development Agency (NPHCDA).
Vincent Okpala, the state commissioner for health, during a news conference in Awka on Wednesday, disclosed that children under five years would be vaccinated against the disease with two drops of Oral Polio Vaccine irrespective of their immunisation status.
Mr Okpala, a medical doctor, said that Poliomyelitis remained a public health emergency international concern.
According to him, Poliomyelitis, a highly-infectious disease caused by the Poliovirus has no cure and can cause lifelong paralysis in children or in fatal cases result in death.
“The only way to protect children is to administer two drops of the oral polio vaccine to them during routine and supplementary polio immunisation days,” he said.
The commissioner said the state government is committed to the programme and would ensure that no child is left out during the exercise.
“The goal of this immunisation is to interrupt circulation and keep polio cases at zero per cent in the state.
“Our objective is to administer two drops of potent Oral Polio Vaccine to scale up delivery of routine immunisation antigens as well as other child survival interventions,” he said.
Nigeria was certified Wild Poliovirus free by the World Health Organisation in August 2020 after the country reported its last case of the disease in 2016.
Mr Okpala said the suspension of immunisation programmes due to COVID-19 pandemic further created new immunity gaps in children.
“Missing children during immunisation campaigns led to new and wider outbreaks that increased transmission of the Circulating Mutant Poliovirus (CMPV2), both globally and within Nigeria.
“These have allowed the virus to be easily transmitted from one person to another through contaminated water and poor sewage disposal.
“Nigerian donors and development partners have acquired new tools to ensure that the outbreak is contained using the Novel Oral Polio Vaccine (NOPV).
“The NOPV has shown to be effective in halting the spread of the CMPV2 in the country and Anambra has two NOPV2 outbreak responses in 2021,” the commissioner said.
Also speaking, Chioma Ezenyimulu, a medical doctor and the executive secretary, Anambra State Primary Healthcare Development (ASPHCDA), said the immunisation would be held from January 29 to February 1.
“With the exercise, every child is given a chance to receive Polio immunisation and the reason for this is to ensure that every child is reached and no child is left out,” she said, urging the media to disseminate the information to residents to reduce the risk of death and disability from the vaccine-preventable disease.
According to her, the media have a role in helping the state to sustain polio free status as well as reduce mortality and morbidity of children.
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