It has been three years since there has been a case of polio in Nigeria. With this, it is on the verge of being declared as free of the disease. The World Health Organization (WHO) says that the dramatic change has been seen from 2012 when the country accounted for more than half of all the polio cases across the globe.
Dr. Faisal Shuaib, the head of the primary health care agency said that Nigeria had reached a historic milestone. But Nigeria will have to wait for several months before the country can be officially be labeled polio-free. For now, the first criteria, no case for three years has been achieved. Dr. Tunji Funsho, the Chairman of Nigeria’s polio committee said that the WHO needs to make sure that there is a robust surveillance system in Nigeria to be certain that there are no further cases of the wild polio virus.
Nigeria is the last country in Africa to witness a case of polio in Borno state in the North-east. Outside Nigeria, the last case on the continent was in the Puntland region of Somalia in 2014. Some insecurities in the north-east of Nigeria had come in the way of vaccination programme, but it was the success in fighting the Boko Haram militant group has been cited as one of the reasons behind getting polio under control.
Moreover, the officials have said that the political support and an injection of funds have also helped. In 2018, there was a total of 33 polio cases confined to just two countries which are Pakistan and Afghanistan. This is not just an achievement for Nigeria but also for the rest of Africa. Dr. Matshidiso, the newly appointed head of WHO said that the continent is on the verge of an extraordinary public health achievement one which will be our legacy to our children and children’s children.
Photo Credits: Pixabay