The United Nation International Children Endowment Fund (UNICEF)has warned Nigerian authorities that the success of wiping the wild poliovirus may be in vain except preventive measures is put in place as follow up.
The UNICEF Communication and Development Specialist, Elizabeth Onitolo, disclosed this yesterday while conducting a three-day dialogue seminar in Yola, Adamawa state.
The dialogue tagged “Routine Immunisation; Post-polio certification and COVID-19 vaccination” organized by the UNICEF in collaboration with the Child Right Information Bureau (CRIB) of the Federal Ministry of Information and Culture.
Sometimes in August last year, Vigil360 reported that Nigeria and some other African countries were declared polio-free by the World Health Organisation (WHO) after the virus disappears on the continent for three years.
Nigeria was the last country to eliminate the virus which was said can be eliminated with adequate vaccination since eight years ago, as the country at some point was said to have accounted for about half the total of the global cases.
The deadly virus is responsible for causing paralysis in children by attacking the nervous system and is a communicable disease spread through water.
The UN expert revealed that the fragile success recorded in Nigeria may go down the drain if the immunization coverage continues to shrink, though noted that the outbreak of coronavirus has rendered routine immunization inaccessible.
She warned that for the success to remain valid, every child has to get immunized with the polio vaccine.
Mrs. Onitolo in her submission said, “Many parents are not compliant, children are not vaccinated and environmental sanitation and personal hygiene in communities are still low providing a possible ground for polio outbreak,”
She revealed that Nigeria for the past two years has suffered setbacks in the administration of the polio vaccine and needed to catch up.
According to her, vaccine indecision is playing against efforts to contain the COVID-19 virus which has affected people from all parts of the country.
She noted that many people are afraid to get vaccinated because of the information they hard.
Mrs. Onitolo stated that dialogues like this would improve the knowledge of key media practitioners on low routine immunization average and how to reach out to more people.
In his remark, the Minister of information and Culture, Lai Mohammed said the country was at a crossroads as more people are needed to be vaccinated.
The minister said there is a need to situate the covid-19 situation in the routine immunization.
In his statement, Even though the country has been certified Wild Polio Free, there is an urgent need to address the immunization situation in Nigeria with attention to COVID-19 and its impact on RI and the roll-out of the vaccination for COVID-19 itself,”
Mr. Mohammed revealed that government would continue to rely on the media for the spread of the messages on the need to access the covid-19 vaccination.