64 Views

New Polio Outbreak Threatens Nigeria’s Steady March To Eradication

In 2012 Nigeria accounted for more than half of all polio cases worldwide. Within three years – and after a rigorous immunisation campaign involving more than 200 000 volunteers – the country was removed from the list of polio-endemic countries. Less than a year later two new cases of polio have been reported. This is a setback for a country that aimed to achieve polio free status by 2017. Professor Oyewale Tomori explains why Nigeria finds itself in this position.

Why has there been a new outbreak of polio in Nigeria?

Nigeria was removed from the list of polio endemic countries after a long and tortuous eradication campaign.

But after attaining non-polio endemic status in September 2015, commitment waned and complacency set in. This was particularly evident at the levels of the national assembly, governors and local government area chairpersons. This complacency meant that polio eradication activities were no longer backed by adequate and timely counterpart funding at the state and local government area levels. This was despite a public and often vocal commitment to polio eradication from Nigeria’s President Muhammadu Buhari.

As a result gaps remained in the quality of immunisation and surveillance activities. These were especially prominent in the country’s security compromised areas.

The wild poliovirus (type 1) isolates were recovered from residents in Gwoza and Jere local government areas in Borno state in northern Nigeria. Genetic sequencing suggests these isolates are most closely linked to the wild poliovirus type 1 that was last detected in the state in 2011.

How far back does this set Nigeria in its progress to eradicate polio?

When Nigeria was removed from the list of polio-endemic countries in 2015 it meant this was the first time the country had managed to interrupt transmission of wild poliovirus. It needed to have no new cases of the wild poliovirus reported for three successive years to finally attain a polio free status by 2017.

Countries have to go at least 12 months without a case before they can be considered for removal from the list of polio endemic countries. Polio-free status comes after three years without a case.

Although Nigeria can no longer be considered a polio endemic country analysis shows that the 2016 isolate is closely linked to a 2011 isolate. This means we were unable to detect the transmission.

The current outbreak has set Nigeria back by at least two years – provided that no wild polio virus is detected in the future.

ALSO READ  What Does Your Tongue Tell You About Your Thyroid?

What has Boko Haram’s role been?

The new polio cases in Nigeria were reported from children in areas of the country rendered inaccessible by Boko Haram insurgency.

The insecurity seriously hampered effective routine and special immunisation activities.

Many of the children in these areas could not be reached. So, vaccination programmes couldn’t be carried out.

In addition, inaccessibility also made it difficult to effectively investigate reports of acute flaccid paralysis cases. Acute flaccid paralysis is weakness in the limbs in children under 15. This signals the onset of paralytic polio, with more serious symptoms such as loss of muscle reflexes, severe muscle pain and spasms and loose or floppy limbs that are often worse on one side of the body.

Boko Haram has contributed significantly to the current situation by creating an environment of insecurity in the affected areas.

What does Nigeria need to do now?

The World Health Organisation has a set of International Health Regulations which guide countries on how to limit the spread of diseases and public health risks. The organisation’s emergency committee has deemed the international spread of poliovirus a public health emergency of international concern.

Nigeria complied with the temporary recommendations issued under the regulations. This involved declaring the outbreak a national public health emergency.

The Federal Minister of Health and stakeholders drew up an emergency plan. Three rounds of special immunisation campaigns were carried out in the affected and surrounding areas. This was a bid to ensure that the situation was contained.

But the current security situation will adversely affect the implementation of the plan. The Ministry of Health will need to work closely with the country’s armed forces to ensure easy access and protection of health workers.

I believe the situation is serious enough for the Presidential Task Force on Polio Eradication to be convened urgently. It must agree on the positive commitment and active involvement of national assembly members, state governors and local government area chairpersons. It must also maintain the essential support of traditional and religious leaders, women’s organisations and community leaders. These groups all have a role to play in making Nigeria a polio free country.

Nigeria must focus on attaining polio free status over the next three years and concentrate less on prematurely celebrating victory.

Nigeria was eagerly looking forward to 2017 as the year it would attain polio free status. The clock has now been set to 2019.

 

Source: The Conversation

Get the best viral stories straight into your inbox!

Don't worry, we don't spam

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published.

Latest Posts

What You Should Know About The Shaku Shaku Dance
Entertainment
43 views
Entertainment
43 views

What You Should Know About The Shaku Shaku Dance

PH - January 22, 2018

If you’re familiar with Nigerian music,  you’ll have noticed there is a long history of being able to make a hit musically when you have a good…

“I Can’t Hangout With Someone That Doesn’t Eat Amala” – Dj Cuppy
Entertainment
43 views
Entertainment
43 views

“I Can’t Hangout With Someone That Doesn’t Eat Amala” – Dj Cuppy

PH - January 22, 2018

Billionaire Daughter, DJ Cuppy, who recently went on Social media to complain about how she’s been battling with throat pain, has revealed the kind of people that…

See Inside Ex-President Jonathan’s Sitting Room In Abuja That Can’t Accommodate 10 People
Politics
51 views
Politics
51 views

See Inside Ex-President Jonathan’s Sitting Room In Abuja That Can’t Accommodate 10 People

PH - January 22, 2018

A retired Permanent Secretary and an associate of former President Goodluck Jonathan, Ambassador Godknows Igali, says the immediate past president may be the poorest former leader in…

See How Jim Iyke Rips Apart A Follower Who Urged Him To Marry
Entertainment
48 views
Entertainment
48 views

See How Jim Iyke Rips Apart A Follower Who Urged Him To Marry

PH - January 22, 2018

Nollywood Actor, Jim Iyke has lashed out at one of his followers who flogged him and urged him to marry asap, as age is not on his…

Simi Adeagbo, First African Female Skeleton Competitor in Winter Olympics featured in Nike’s “Forever First”
Featured
58 views
Featured
58 views

Simi Adeagbo, First African Female Skeleton Competitor in Winter Olympics featured in Nike’s “Forever First”

PH - January 22, 2018

Nike’s new short film ‘Forever First’ celebrates the power and mindset of Simidele Adeagbo, who is Africa’s first ever female athlete to compete in the winter sport…

SEE Photo Of Two Men Arrested With Counterfeit N8Million Cash In Niger State.
Shocking
46 views
Shocking
46 views

SEE Photo Of Two Men Arrested With Counterfeit N8Million Cash In Niger State.

MT - January 22, 2018

Following intelligence at the disposal of the Niger State Police Command in connection with the circulation of money suspected to be counterfeit, the operatives of the Command…

Goodluck Jonathan Is Broke, In Debts Over 2015 Election – Ex Diplomat, Boladei Igali Reveals
Politics
43 views
Politics
43 views

Goodluck Jonathan Is Broke, In Debts Over 2015 Election – Ex Diplomat, Boladei Igali Reveals

MT - January 22, 2018

While speaking during an interactive session with some journalists over the weekend in Abuja, former Career Diplomat and retired Permanent Secretary, Ambassador Godknows Boladei Igali, has said…

Relationship Expert, Joro Olumofin Shares 24 Qualities Of A Wife Material That Got Ladies Talking
Entertainment
48 views
Entertainment
48 views

Relationship Expert, Joro Olumofin Shares 24 Qualities Of A Wife Material That Got Ladies Talking

MT - January 22, 2018

Popular relationship expert, Joro Olumofi, has shared qualities of a wife material on his Instagram page. According to him, for men looking for wives, a lady must…

“Today Is A Very Special Day My Daughter”- Peter Okoye Celebrates Daughter, Aliona As She Turns 5
Entertainment
44 views
Entertainment
44 views

“Today Is A Very Special Day My Daughter”- Peter Okoye Celebrates Daughter, Aliona As She Turns 5

MT - January 22, 2018

Peter Okoye aka Mr. P and Lola Omotayo's daughter, Aliona turned 5-year-old today and the musician celebrated her via his Instagram page. "Today is a very special…

Meet The Soldier Who Ladies Love To Be Around With In Borno State. Photo
Inspiring
49 views
Inspiring
49 views

Meet The Soldier Who Ladies Love To Be Around With In Borno State. Photo

MT - January 22, 2018

An average Nigerian is always scared to come close to a soldier but this down-to-earth soldier who serves in Ngala of Borno – has won the hearts…

Why Rivers People Will Vote For Me In 2019 – Governor Wike
Politics
39 views
Politics
39 views

Why Rivers People Will Vote For Me In 2019 – Governor Wike

PH - January 22, 2018

Nyesom Wike, Governor of Rivers State, has said he would never ask people of the state to rig election in his favour. Speaking during a Thanksgiving service…

Inspiring: Meet The Lady Who Makes Furniture With Used Tyres Gotten From Dumpsites. [Photos]
Best of Nigeria
55 views
Best of Nigeria
55 views

Inspiring: Meet The Lady Who Makes Furniture With Used Tyres Gotten From Dumpsites. [Photos]

MT - January 22, 2018

This is really encouraging. Here’s an inspiring photo-story featuring a young entrepreneur who started making waves for herself during her teenage years. The young graduate of the…

Man Who Proposed To His Girl Friend At SARS Headquarters Finally Weds. [Photos]
Best of Nigeria
39 views
Best of Nigeria
39 views

Man Who Proposed To His Girl Friend At SARS Headquarters Finally Weds. [Photos]

MT - January 22, 2018

Last year December, A man proposed to his girlfriend of many years at the Special Anti-Robbery Squad SARS headquarters in Port Harcourt, Rivers state. The man proposed…

How Okada Rider Dumped His Wife And Got Married To Police Woman Who Helped Him
Romance and Love
51 views
Romance and Love
51 views

How Okada Rider Dumped His Wife And Got Married To Police Woman Who Helped Him

MT - January 22, 2018

A motorcycle operator identified as Essien has dumped Grace his wife of many years, and married a police woman who showed him love during his travail in…

Herdsmen Killings: ‘Why I’ll Hold Fulani Leaders Responsible For Any Attack’ – Gov. Fayose Sounds Warnings
Politics
72 views
Politics
72 views

Herdsmen Killings: ‘Why I’ll Hold Fulani Leaders Responsible For Any Attack’ – Gov. Fayose Sounds Warnings

MT - January 22, 2018

The outspoken Governor of Ekiti State, Ayodele Fayose, has sounded a warning to Serikin Fulani in the state, Muhammed Abashe, that he will be held responsible for…

Seven Banking Ideas For Students
Business
47 views
Business
47 views

Seven Banking Ideas For Students

MT - January 22, 2018

College season is near, which means that millions of freshmen from around the country will leave the snug confines of their childhood home for a room with…

Watch Banky W and Adesua Etomi at their Special Thanksgiving in England
Entertainment
48 views
Entertainment
48 views

Watch Banky W and Adesua Etomi at their Special Thanksgiving in England

PH - January 22, 2018

Arguably one of the biggest events last year, Banky W and Adesua Etomi‘s wedding, #BAAD2017, grabbed headlined for weeks on end in 2017 as the whole nation was practically watching in awe.…

“My Song ‘Science Student’ Is Not Encouraging Drug Abuse” – Olamide Responds To Critics
Entertainment
48 views
Entertainment
48 views

“My Song ‘Science Student’ Is Not Encouraging Drug Abuse” – Olamide Responds To Critics

MT - January 22, 2018

  Following thereactions that his recently released song, “ Science Student,” has sparked; Olamide has made a counter-reaction on Instagram. The musician took to Instagram to correct…

Loading...