- Affected areas: Gwoza and Jere Local Government Areas, Borno State
- Federal Government’s measure: National emergency response team sent to Borno State
- About five million in four Nigeria’s northern states targeted for immunisation
“There’s nothing more important than our good health-that’s our principal capital asset.”—Arlen Specter
Wild polio cases have resurfaced in Gwoza and Jere Local Government Areas of Borno State, Northern part of Nigeria-the country’s first since 2014; and two children from the affected areas had been paralysed by the disease.
The development is seen as a huge setback for Nigeria, which was on track to be declared polio free in 2017.
Borno State was the most Boko Haram active state, where activities of the insurgents hindered access to children for proper immunization.
The World Health Organisation and Nigeria’s Minister of Health, Prof. Isaac Adewole, have confirmed the outbreak.
The Minister said the fresh cases were detected during a surveillance of North –Eastern states by health officials from the ministry.
FG sends National emergency response team to Borno State
Prof. Adewole has charged parents in the region to stay vigilant, while a national emergency response team has been sent to Borno State for immediate polio vaccination campaign to prevent the spread of the virus locally and internationally.
“Our overriding priority right now is to rapidly boost immunity in the affected areas to ensure that no more children are affected by this terrible disease.
“Local health officials with the support of partners including WHO and UNICEF are conducting detailed risk analysis to clearly ascertain the extent of circulation of the virus, and to assess overall levels of population immunity in order to guide the response.
Emergency areas of coverage
The minister said children in Borno State and neighboring states would be immunized in order to prevent further spread of the disease.
“As an immediate response, about one million children are to be immunised in four local government areas in Borno State. Children in adjoining states of Yobe, Adamawa and Gombe will also be immunised bringing the number to about five million in the four states.”
Will Nigeria be declared polio free on July 24, 2017?
Nigeria was going to be declared polio free on July 24, 2017, if the country did not record any new case of the disease.
But the fresh polio outbreak may put the 2017 polio-free vision of Nigeria on hold until the entire states in the northern parts of the country where Boko Haram ruled are cleaned up.
Polio disease is spread by poor sanitation and contaminated water.