This followed a rigorous verification and certification process by the African Regional Commission for the Certification of Poliomyelitis Eradication (ARCC), which spanned three years of no detection of WPV.
Shuaib, however, said the country at the moment had 395 cases of circulating Mutant Poliovirus Type 2 (cMPV2) across 27 states and the FCT.
“Till date, there has been no case of WPV anywhere in the country,” he insisted.
He assured Nigerians that the agency would continue to conduct surveillance and vaccination campaigns in collaboration with its partners to prevent and contain any possible importation of the Wild Polio Virus into the country.
”We currently have 395 cases of Circulating Mutant Poliovirus Type 2 (cMPV2) across 27 states and the FCT.
“cMPV2 outbreaks are caused by immunity gaps in children due to several reasons, including low routine immunisation coverage, and missing children during immunisation campaigns.
“The suspension of several polio campaigns and other health programmes in 2020, as well as disruptions to routine immunisation because of the COVID-19 pandemic, created further immunity gaps.
“This led to new and wider outbreaks and further increased transmission of the circulating mutant poliovirus both globally and within Nigeria,” said Shuaib.
According to him, the viruses thrive in areas with poor sanitation, open defecation, and inadequate access to clean drinking water.
“These have allowed the virus to be easily transmitted from one person to another through contaminated water and poor sewage disposal,” he explained.
He added that malnutrition occasioned by increasing poverty was also a predisposing factor in exposed children.
“These non-wild polioviruses which originated because of normal changes in the reproduction of viruses in the environment are not as virulent as WPV and are also being reported in many other countries,” he said.
Working with donors and development partners, he said Nigeria had already acquired new tools and resources to ensure the outbreaks were contained.
He said this would be done through robust outbreak responses using the novel Oral Polio Vaccine (nOPV2), which had been effective in halting the spread of the cMPV2.
“All 36 States and FCT have completed at least one nOPV2 Outbreak Response (OBR). Several other rounds of the OBR as well as other campaigns to improve the mucosal immunity of children aged o-5 years old using Injectable Polio Vaccine (IPV) have also been planned for this year.
“Efforts are also being ramped up to increase routine immunisation coverage beyond pre-COVID values.
“We use this opportunity to reiterate the importance of parents and caregivers bringing their children for routine immunisation against vaccine-preventable diseases,” said Shuaib.