Lagos, Ogun plan joint advocacy
THERE are fears that the menace of Boko Haram sect in the northern states may prevent execution of another round of Immunisation Plus Days (IPDs) scheduled to hold between February 9 and 13 across the country.
Meanwhile, the Global Polio Eradication Initiative (GPEI) has reported one new case of the Wild Polio Virus type 1 (WPV1) in Kano, bringing the current number of polio cases in Nigeria to 58. The development came as investigation revealed that the shortage of vaccines for childhood killer diseases in Primary Health Care (PHC) centres across the country, caused largely by the last year bombing of the United Nations building in Abuja, has persisted.
It was learnt that the Ogun State Government, through its Border Health Project, is collaborating with Lagos State on joint polio advocacy day.
A Weekly Polio Update published by GPEI notes that the new polio case in Kano “ is the most recent in the country, with onset of paralysis on December 13, 2011. Insecurity remains in Kano. The security situation continues to be assessed on an ongoing basis.” According to the report, the situation has also affected the additional technical support, including 11 consultants (short-term contracts) and 11 United States Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Stop Transmission of Polio (STOP) consultants scheduled to arrive in Abuja early February. The GPEI, however, said pre-implementation activities are underway for another round of IPDs billed for February 18 to 21. The dates for the March supplementary immunization activities (SIAs) are set for 17 to 20.
Towards meeting the target date of polio eradication, the global partners are looking for ways to supplement human resources at the field level. The CDC is therefore seeking short-term and highly qualified health professionals to join their STOP Teams for three-month non-salaried field assignments.
Ogun State Health Commissioner and former health communications officer of the World Health Organisation (WHO), Dr. Olaolu Soyinka, said: “This Saturday, February 11, both Governor Babatunde Fashola of Lagos State and Governor Ibikunle Amosun of Ogun State are going to do a joint polio advocacy day in Adodo Otta, Iroko, Abule Iroko in Akinde town. That is right on the border. They are actually going to do joint advocacy session and kick off the immunization date specifically to highlight the importance of focusing on border areas.”
Reacting to the shortage of vaccines at most PHC centres, Soyinka said: “Shortage of vaccines is a federal problem. We at state levels cannot procure vaccines. So all those vaccines for childhood illnesses are procured at federal level by the National Primary Health Care Development Agency (NPHCDA). Sometimes it is because of global shortage.
“Other things sometimes cause stock-outs like problems at the ports and the recent nationwide strikes against fuel subsidy removal, even things like the UN house bombing in Abuja. It caused some vaccines shortage as well. So it is something that is beyond the control of the states.”