Polio may resurface in Nigeria's NorthEast - UNICEF warns

The UNICEF says without adequate awareness on the need for people to continue routine immunisation especially that of polio, there are possibilities of Polio disease resurfacing in the country.

Nigerian health official administers a polio vaccine to a child in Northern Nigeria.

This, it said, could happen even after the country had been certified free of polio by the World Health Organisation (WHO), hence the need for the media to increase awareness for persons in the Northeast to embrace routine immunisation.

Mrs Elizabeth Onitolo, Communication for Development (C4D) Specialist, UNICEF, made the call on Tuesday in Yola, Adamawa, at the opening session of a three-day media dialogue.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the media dialogue was jointly organised by UNICEF in collaboration with the Child Rights Information Bureau (CRIB), Federal Ministry of Information and Culture.

According to science.org.au, immunisation is described as “the process whereby people are protected against illness caused by infection with micro-organisms, formally called pathogens.

“The term vaccine refers to the material used for immunisation, while vaccination refers to the act of giving a vaccine to a person.”

Onitolo said routine immunisation helps eliminate vaccine-preventable diseases ravaging the country.

“There is need for the media to do more awareness particularly for people in the Northeast to guide against the coming back of polio and other likely disease into the country.

“No child must die of polio again in Nigeria; we sincerely plead with the media to help us out by creating awareness and sensitising the people on routine immunisation.

“This meeting is to improve the knowledge of key media practitioners on low routine immunisation coverage; it is also to strengthen alliance with the media.

“The meeting is for the media to support the national plan to strengthen immunisation on COVID-19 information, and provide the media with additional sources of information on COVID-19,” she said.

On COVID-19, Onitolo said majority of Nigerians were scared to get the COVID-19 vaccination as a result of misinformation on their part.

She also called on the media to help change the mindset of Nigerians on the deadly COVID-19, and get vaccinated.

According to her, the media must help to build confidence in the people to encourage them get vaccinated.

This, she said, must include reporting the importance and benefits of vaccination and immunisation.


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