The Federal Capital Territory Administration (FCTA) says it will begin a supplementary polio immunisation campaign from July 29 to Aug. 11, to sustain the poliovirus-free status in the FCT and Nigeria.
Mr Malan Haruna, acting Secretary of the Health and Human Services Secretariat, FCTA made this known while addressing a news conference in Abuja.
The news conference was organised in collaboration with the World Health Organisation (WHO).
Haruna recalled that Nigeria has been certified free of the Wild Polio Virus since Aug. 25, 2020, by the WHO, adding, however, that a strain of the virus still exists.
According to him, the strain, if left unattended to, can risk the resurfacing of polio incidence in the country.
“This is why this supplemental exercise of polio immunisation is crucial to curb the virus from spreading.”
He said that immunisation officers would be going from house to house, marketplaces, worship centres, schools, and other public places to immunise all children from age zero to 59 months.
He urged parents to present their children to be immunised to strengthen their immunity against the virus.
On his part, Dr Isah Vatsa, Executive Secretary, FCT Primary Health Care Board, said that a made in Nigeria Indomie noodles would be given to every child who received the vaccine.
This, according to him, will serve as an incentive to parents and caregivers to bring out their children to be immunised.
He said that a total of 26,939 cartons of 40 pieces each, amounting to 1.19 million pieces of the noodles have been procured.
“The strategy, we believe, will improve uptake of the vaccines and it will be strictly monitored to avoid abuse and misuse,” he said.
Vatsa said that a total of 1.3 million children ages zero to 59 months would be vaccinated with the novel Oral Polio Vaccine (nOPV2).
He added that 1.2 million children, ages six weeks to 59 months would also be vaccinated with the Fractional Inactivated Polio Vaccine (FIPV).
He said that despite the polio free status, the transmission of another strain, the Circulating Variant Poliovirus type2 (CVPV2) strain, had continued, with 168 reported cases in Nigeria in 2022 alone.
“For Nigeria to be completely free from Polio, we must interrupt the residual risk of all forms of poliovirus and boost routine immunization coverage in the country.
“We are on course, as we have recorded only 14 cases in Nigeria in 2023,” he said.
Vatsa said that although no case was recorded in the FCT, the risk was high considering that “the world is a global village”.
According to him, the danger of not interrupting the transmission of the VPV2 variant is that the weakened virus can revert to a form that causes illness and paralysis.
He added that the FCT Administration, through its PHCDB in collaboration with development partners, has deployed several strategies to ensure that every eligible child was reached.
The executive secretary further said that all the Primary Health Care facilities and government hospitals across the six Area Councils of the FCT would be used as vaccination posts.
He equally said that provisions were made for temporary vaccination posts situated in Churches, schools, markets, village squares and other designated points to ease stress on the parents and caregivers.
Dr Kumshida Balami, WHO Coordinator, Integrated Health Service Delivery in the FCT, noted that significant progress has been made to address the evolving risk of circulating vaccine-derived type 2 (cVDPV2) in Nigeria.
Balomi, however, said that despite the efforts, there were still challenges and gaps.
“We have issues regarding missed children in hard-to-reach communities, major risk associated with the transmission of the virus, low immunity to type 2 poliovirus, and insecurity among others.
“This is why we are here to inform residents about the immunisation campaign and the strategies employed to leave no child behind,” she said. (NAN)