Nigeria records new polio cases

DESPITE renewed global efforts to eradicate the Wild Polio Virus (WPV), Nigeria has continued to report new infections, with three new cases recorded last week in Kaduna and Katsina states.

According to the latest edition of the Weekly Polio Update published by the Global Polio Eradication Initiative (GPEI), the total number of cases in 2012 is 38. The most recent case is one of the newly reported WPV1s in Katsina, with onset of paralysis on May 7, 2012.

Speaking at the just-concluded 65th World Health Assembly (WHA), Minister of Health, Prof. Onyebuchi Chukwu, acknowledged the resurgence of polio in Nigeria compared to 2010 and Nigeria’s determination to reverse this trend.

He noted in particular the formation of a Presidential Task Force to tackle the scourge, demonstrating the highest level of leadership and national oversight. The implementation of the national emergency action plan is reviewed every quarter under the task force. The core of the plan is an accountability framework for all tiers of government and partner organisations.

The minister told the Assembly that domestic funding for polio eradication had been increased.

He outlined the country’s focus on carrying out high-quality Supplemental Immunisation Activities (SIAs), including missed settlements and children, fixing vaccination team composition, workload and supervision and involving more closely community, traditional and religious leaders and women’s groups.

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