Anambra State Government in collaboration with partner agencies will kick-start the 2022 National Immunisation Plus Days (NIPDs) against polio eradication across the state on the 29th of January, 2022.
The exercise which is in line with the approval from the National Primary Healthcare Development Agency (NPHCDA), is expected to last till 1st of February, 2022.
Anambra State Commissioner for Health, Dr Vincent Okpala disclosed this in a news briefing at the Jerome Udoji Secretariat Complex, Awka to mark the commencement of the exercise.
Dr Okpala who noted that Poliomyelitis remains a Public Health Emergency International Concern (PHEIC), explained that the highly infectious disease caused by the Poliovirus has no cure and causes lifelong paralysis in children and in some cases could lead to death.
“The only way to protect children is to administer two drops of the oral polio vaccine to them during routine and supplementary polio immunisation days,’’ he said.
He noted that the state government was fully committed to the programme and would ensure that no child was missed during the exercise.
According to him, the goal is to interrupt circulation and Keep Polio at zero while the State objective is to administer two drops of potent Oral Polio Vaccine to scale up delivery of routine immunisation antigens as well as other child survival interventions.
The commissioner revealed that in August 2020, Nigeria was certified Wild Poliovirus (WP), free by the World Health Organisation (WHO) and its allies as the country reported its last case of the disease in 2016.
“The suspension of immunisation programmes due to COVID-19 pandemic has further created new immunity gaps in children due to several reasons, including low routine immunisation coverage.
“Missing children during immunisation campaigns led to new and wider outbreaks that increased transmission of the Circulating Mutant Poliovirus (CMPV2), both globally and within Nigeria.
“These have allowed the virus to be easily transmitted from one person to another through contaminated water and poor sewage disposal,’’ he noted.
The commissioner disclosed that Nigerian donors and development partners have acquired new tools to ensure that the outbreak was contained using the Novel Oral Polio Vaccine (NOPV).
The NOPV he said, has shown to be effective in halting the spread of the CMPV2 and Anambra had two NOPV2 outbreak responses in 2021.
In a remark, the Executive Secretary, Anambra State Primary Healthcare Development (ASPHCDA), Dr Chioma Ezenyimulu noted that the activity would hold between Jan. 29 and Feb. 1.
“As we are aware NIPDs are being set aside to immunise children 0 to 59 months, technically under 5 years against Polio irrespective of previous immunisation status.
“This means that every child is given a chance to receive Polio immunisation and the reason for this is to ensure that every child is reached and no child is missed,’’ Dr Ezenyimulu said.
Mr Obioha Agbakwuru, State Coordinator, National Primary Healthcare Development Agency (NPHCDA), said the media had a strategic role to play in a Primary Health space with regards to the dissemination of information to the public.
“I want to commend the media in the state for their continued support; we appeal to them to help mobilise eligible persons for the forthcoming National Plus Days.
“We are committed and dedicated to providing guidance, pragmatic leadership, other relevant resources that will help the state to sustain Polio free status as well as reduce mortality and morbidity of children,’’ he said.