Nigeria has recorded reduction of reported cases of the wild polio virus, WPV, even as Rotary International says insecurity in the northern part of the country is responsible for the slow progress of the eradication drive.
Presenting an update report on polio in Lagos last week, Chairman, Nigeria National Polio Plus Committee, NNPPC, Dr. Abdulrahman Tunji Funso said the country has halved the number of WPV cases, with 43 confirmed cases in nine states as at August 9, 2013 compared to 81 cases in 11 states within the same period in 2012.
Funso however, lamented that 84 per cent of the current burden of polio still comes from Kano,Borno, Yobe and Bauchi States, mostly affected by activities of Islamic sect, Boko Haram.To this end, NNPPC held a two-day polio immunisation programme in endemic local councils in the four States.
“It remains a challenge for the country that about 200,000 children are still missing the three doses of polio vaccine needed to prevent the deadly virus. The danger is that for every polio infection we allow to happen anywhere in the country, it puts the whole country and the world at the risk of new spread,” Funsho warned.
He said: “Yes! No case has been recorded in the south so far, but new cases in the north equally put us all at risk. Which is why we are still appealing for collective support to tackle polio disease through continuous routine immunisation and fund support.”
Further, Funsho said: “Nigeria has no business being among countries that are yet to eradicate polio. Nigeria has eradicated Type 2 and Type 3 strains of the WPV said the country is currently faced with the challenges of eradicating Type 1. It will be embarrassing if the country is the last among the three countries to eradicate polio.
“This is why Rotary is committed to eradicating polio from the surface and ensure that Nigeria is not the last to be declared polio-free country in the world. “It is not about statistics, but about the picture of that child that has once walked but soon came down with fever and then could not walk again or just died of polio. That is the picture we want to eradicate in Rotary,” he said.
Rotary Club Service Projects, R.I Districts 9110, Nigeria, Yemi Osilaja said to address funding gap in Nigeria, the Club plans to raise N100 million before the end of the year through cycling race in collaboration with Cycology Riding Club in Lagos.
Osilaja said the Club is organising the six–hour non-stop cycling race in Lagos. Cyclists from outside Lagos will be invited to join in the campaign aimed at filling the funding gap in Nigeria.