Osagie Ehanire, minister of health, has stated that COVID-19 and insecurity are fueling re-emerging poliovirus variants in Nigeria.
On August 25, 2020, the Africa Regional Certification Commission (ARCC) for polio eradication officially declared Nigeria free of indigenous wild poliovirus.
There have, however, been outbreaks of other polio variants such as the circulating mutant poliovirus type two (cMPV2) which occurs as a result of immunity gaps in children.
Speaking at the celebration of the anniversary of wild poliovirus eradication in Nigeria, the minister said the government and development partners made huge investments and sacrifices over the years for the eradication of polio.
“The day may have come too late for those who have been paralysed and those frontline health workers who paid the supreme price for the triumph of eradicating the disease,” he said.
“However, for the millions of children who are prevented from the crippling effects of WPV these sacrifices will not go in vain and therefore the significance of commemorating this day.
“The past 3 years have been a mixed bag of events for the country as the impact of COVID-19 affected our health system, and also the emerging insecurity in some parts of the country poses a challenge to the onslaught of the re-emerging variants of the polio viruses (cVPV2) which are remnants in the environment as a result of suboptimal environmental sanitation and can potentially be virulent and affect children who have not been enrolled in the routine immunization system.”