Rotary Congratulates Nigeria Over Polio
ROTARY International, District 9125 Nigeria, has congratulated Nigeria and its partners for achieving one year without polio. But Rotary warned that it is not yet time for celebration, as a lot more work still needs to be put into polio eradication efforts to qualify Nigeria for World Health Organization (WHO) certification in 2017.
In a release ahead of his investiture today, District Governor, Mike Omotosho, called for increased immunization across the country. “This is a huge milestone but we still have work to do.
One year without polio means that Nigeria will now be on the list of non-polio endemic nations pending WHO ratification.” On Rotary’s efforts towards polio eradication, he noted: “The Impact of Rotary’s Support to PEI is unquantifiable.
There are over two billion children who have received Rotary’s polio vaccine – and they are now living a life without the fear of paralysis and death from polio.
At the micro level, Rotarians volunteer their resources including time to accompany health workers to the most remote areas by canoe, camels, elephants, horsebacks, motorbikes, and every other conceivable vehicle to reach children. The hard-to-reach areas are where Rotarians efforts are mostly appreciated since others hardly would go there.
Many volunteer Rotarians could go door-to-door persuading parents and caretakers to bring their children to receive polio vaccine.”
He attributed the success so far recorded to the continued commitment and leadership of the government of Nigeria with support from Rotary International and other partners, the persistence of the Nigerian health workers, and the sacrifice made by volunteers and local community vaccinators who risk it all to drop the polio vaccine in the mouths of the many eligible children in Nigeria.
Also contributing to the success are the innovations that have helped the programme gain traction in reaching children in communities with high rate of vaccine refusals, he noted.
His words: “The success factors abound. One can but mention just a few. However, each little effort, small idea, big strategy, moral support, endorsement made towards promoting vaccine uptake has contributed to the overall outcome.
The key innovations that have supported the Nigeria PEI gain mileage in recent time include, but not limited to: expanded and strategic use of health camps and gifting of attractive pluses to children and caregivers in non-compliant communities, reaching missed-children by conducting outside-household immunization called Directly Observed Polio Vaccination (DOPV), heightened commitment of religious and traditional leaders in resolving non-compliance, the Therapeutic Feeding Centers – the idea behind the Therapeutic Feeding Centers is to reach and vaccinate as many children as possible, especially those whose parents wouldn’t accept the polio vaccination during regular and supplementary immunization campaigns due to myths around the polio vaccine.
Also, persistent disease surveillance has contributed in helping the program pinpoint vulnerability to polio transmission.” On Nigeria’s efforts to sustain wild polio virus interruption, Omotosho noted: “The Nigeria Polio Eradication Initiative has made remarkable progress in the last two years. We noted a significant reduction in the prevalence of the Wild Polio Virus (WPV) in 2014 where there were only six cases recorded and five cases out of the six were in Kano State.”