FG targets 2023 to eradicate vaccine-derived poliovirus

On Thursday, the Federal Government stated that it is determined to eradicate the Circulating Vaccine-Derived Polio Virus Type 2 by 2023.

The FG also stated that 96% of the country's Local Government Areas have achieved 100% response to the Circulating Vaccine-Derived Polio Virus Type 2.

This was stated by Dr. Faisal Shuaib, Executive Director and Chief Executive Officer of the National Primary Health Care Development Agency, at the Northern Traditional Leaders' Committee on Primary Health Care Development Delivery Review Meeting in Abuja.

If a population is severely under-immunized, there are enough susceptible children for vaccine-derived polioviruses to start circulating in the community. If the vaccine-virus is allowed to circulate for an extended period of time without interruption, it can mutate and reacquire neurovirulence for 12-18 months. Circulating vaccine-derived polioviruses are the name given to these viruses.

The longer these viruses survive, the lower the population's immunity. As they spread through a community, the more they replicate, change, and exchange genetic material with other enteroviruses.

However, if a population is fully immunized against poliovirus, it will be protected from the spread of both wild and vaccine strains.

While commending the northern traditional leaders' significant contributions to eradicating the Wild Polio Virus, Dr Shuaib said "We would not have been able to eradicate WPV without the northern traditional leaders' committee on polio eradication.

"We are making progress, but the progress that we need to make this year is important because while reducing the number of cVDPV2 by over 90 per cent, we have to get down to zero. The goal for 2023 is not to reduce further, but to bring it to zero. We know that if the message is to be heard anywhere, it must be in this room because you are the ones who will make it happen.

"For the first time in the history of our polio eradication activities around cVDPV2, we were able to achieve 96 per cent of the LGAs actually scoring 100 per cent in terms of the children that we were able to reach. This has never happened, especially given the number of LGAs and the difficulties with insecurity that we have seen in some of these areas." While this is the first time we've seen this type of coverage, we don't want it to be the last; we want it to be the standard, that no child should be overlooked when we go out there for a campaign, which is exactly what you did, and we got rid of WPV. The cVDPV2 is no exception, and that is the level of commitment required for us to complete the job."

He stated that routine immunization campaigns will be intensified in February, March, and April to reach the children who have been missed.

Dr. Osagie Ehanire, Minister of Health, stated that the incoming administration must invest in primary health care.

"We know that poor health indices in maternal and child mortality and morbidity are generated largely in rural areas with no access to any form of healthcare," Dr. Ehanire said. We must do more to persuade the next administration and philanthropists to invest in our PHC, as well as traditional leaders to demand their own standard PHC, one per political ward, from state and local governments or politicians running for office.

"Routine immunization is a standard service at PHCs, and it is free, safe, effective, and available throughout the country. Parents and caregivers must work together to ensure that children receive vaccines in accordance with the Nigerian RI schedule.
The Sultan of Sokoto, Sa'ad Abubakar, promised to continue mobilizing every household to demand PHC services, particularly vaccines for children.

Sumail'a Mera, Emir of Argungu and Chairman of the NTLC, represented Abubakar, who stated that the review meetings provide opportunities to discuss scheduled activities for the period and beyond.

"We will also access progress made, and challenges faced, share good practices, and exchange new ideas. It is also a means of learning about new government programs and initiatives aimed at the overall development and well-being of our people. As a result, we are always delighted to attend and contribute our best efforts to the discussions.

"We assure you that we will continue to do our best to mobilize and motivate every husband and every mother to demand PHC services, particularly vaccines for their children and families," he said.

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