After reports this week stating that Nigeria has suffered a setback in its campaign to eradicate polio after two cases were reported in Borno state, the United Nations Children’s Emergency Fund (UNICEF) has come out to state that conflict poses a major threat to children.
UNICEF also said that the sobering news underscores the urgency of eradicating the disease in conflict-affected areas.
The Nigerian Government and the World Health Organisation (WHO) confirmed an outbreak of wild poliovirus in conflict-ridden Borno state, where children are also already facing dangerously high levels of malnutrition.
The two cases were discovered in parts of Borno that have recently become accessible.
Nigeria had its last confirmed polio case two years ago and was within a year of being certified polio-free.
“We cannot deny the connection between conflict and the continued threat of polio. The two new cases mean children across the Lake Chad region are now at particular risk. With our partners, we will not stop until we reach every child with polio vaccination,” said UNICEF Polio Eradication Director Reza Hossaini.