Fred Ezeh, Abuja
National Primary Health Care Development Agency (NPHCDA) and local and international partners rolled out the drums in Abuja on Wednesday to celebrate three years without a case of Wild Polio Virus (WPV) in Nigeria.
The Agency confirmed that the last polio case in Nigeria was isolated to a child in Borno State on August 21, 2016, and that prompted a swift response from the Agency and its partners.
NPHCDA said it increased the sensitivity of the surveillance system and deployed innovative strategies to reach children in prone area, particularly in the inaccessible areas of Borno, Yobe, and Adamawa states.
Nigeria is expected to be declared Wild Polio Virus (WPV) free by World Health Organisation (WHO) in March 2020 if the country sustains the momentum and records no case of the polio virus in four years.
NPHCDA Executive Director Dr Faisal Shuaib, addressing journalists in Abuja on the milestone, attributed the success to the collective contributions of stakeholders involved in the fight against the virus, including local and international donor agencies and field workers.
He added that N9. 8 billion released by President Muhammadu Buhari in 2016, in addition to huge resources provided by other local and international donor agencies, had helped to carry out vaccination of children through firewall, international border vaccination, local transit vaccination, nomadic, hospital, market and vaccination at camps for Internally Displaced Persons (IDP).
He admitted that the road to the milestone was tortuous and tragic, as some field officers paid the supreme price with their lives, while some unlucky field workers sustained injuries with permanent disabilities.
With the success, the NPHCDA said that Nigeria has commenced the process of documentation towards the final certification by Africa Regional Certification Commission (ARCC).
“The process involves a detailed assemblage and review of surveillance, routine immunisation and supplemental immunisation activities data by the national certification committee before submission of the final documentation of ARCC in March 2020,” Shuaib said.
Several stakeholders, including Sir Emeka Offor Foundation, involved in the fight against the virus highlighted their contributions that led to the two-year milestone.