Health Update Nigeria will not be polio-free in 2015 – Expert

The Chairman, Experts Review Committee on polio eradication, Oyewale Tomori, has said that Nigeria can only be certified polio-free in 2018 “if the country does not record any new case of polio this year.”

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A health worker gives a child an oral polio vaccine in Kano, Nigeria. play

A health worker gives a child an oral polio vaccine in Kano, Nigeria.

(Sunday Alamba /AP)
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Nigeria will not be polio-free in 2015, an expert on the disease has said.

The Chairman, Experts Review Committee on polio eradication, Oyewale Tomori, has said that Nigeria can only be certified polio-free in 2018 “if the country does not record any new case of polio this year.”

He made the declaration during the 29th meeting of the ERC on Polio and Routine Immunization, held at Rockview Royale Hotel, Abuja.

Professor Tomori based his assertion on the World Health Organization (WHO) regulations regarding polio.

“For you to be totally free of polio, would take three years before we can be certified polio free. Polio transmission is just a step in the way; polio eradication is what we are looking for to make sure that there are no new cases of polio in the next three years,” Tomori said.

“The wild polio which we recorded last year (2014) is an issue we need to pay attention to by making sure that this country is totally free of either of the two types of viruses. The job is not finished; there is the need for more funds, because it is even more difficult in the last stage. To rid this country of polio, funding must not only be sustained but improved,” he added.

“The activities we have done so far in this year’s surveillance and making sure they get to the children must be intensified. This country took care of Ebola by doing aggressive surveillance and with aggressive vaccination of our children, we can get rid of polio in Nigeria,” he continued.

Meanwhile the Jigawa State government has developed an injectable polio vaccine and also declared that the state has not recorded a new case of the disease in 28 months.

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