Agency says Nigeria’s wild polio virus-free status not under threat

The National Primary Health Care Development Agency (NPHCDA) has said that Nigeria’s Wild Polio Virus (WPV)-free status was not under threat.

Nigerian health official administers a polio vaccine to a child in Kano, northern Nigeria

The Executive Director, NPHCDA, Dr Faisal Shuaib, gave the assurances in a statement made available to the News Agency of Nigeria(NAN) on Thursday in Abuja.

NAN recalls that Nigeria and the African region were certified WPV-free in 2020, following a rigorous verification and certification process by the African Regional Commission for the Certification of Poliomyelitis Eradication (ARCC) which spanned 3 years of no detection of WPV.

Shuaib stressed that since the verification and certification, there had been no case of WPV isolated anywhere in the country.

“Nigeria and the African region were certified WPV-free on August, 2020 and therefore, the polio-free status of the country is not in any way under threat.

“The attention of NPHCDA has been drawn to reports in some sections of the media, claiming that there is an outbreak of a new polio variant in some states. This is a gross misrepresentation of the facts.

“For the avoidance of doubt, no case of WPV has been reported anywhere in the country since the last case in 2016.

“What is being misconstrued for an outbreak of WPV is the detection, through our robust disease surveillance system, of 22 cases of Acute Flaccid Paralysis, spread across seven (7) States (Borno, Jigawa, Kano, Kebbi, Sokoto, Yobe and Zamfara). These non-wild polio viruses originated as a result of normal changes in the reproduction of viruses.

“These viruses are not as virulent as WPV and are also being reported in other countries.

“Working with our donors and development partners, Nigeria has already acquired new tools and resources to ensure these viruses are contained,” he explained.

He, however, assured Nigerians that the agency and partners would continue to conduct surveillance and vaccination campaigns in order to prevent and contain any possible importation of the Wild Polio Virus.

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