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Tuesday, June 18, 2024

Take polio vaccine, get a packet of noodles, FCTA woos kids

The Federal Capital Territory Administration says it will begin a supplementary polio immunisation campaign from July 29 to August 11, to sustain the poliovirus-free status in the FCT and Nigeria.

Acting Secretary, Health and Human Services Secretariat, FCTA, Mr. Malan Haruna, made this known during a news conference organised in collaboration with the World Health Organisation in Abuja.

He recalled that Nigeria has been certified free of the Wild Polio Virus since August 25, 2020, by the WHO, but that however, a strain of the virus was detected.

According to him, the strain, if left unattended, can increase the risk of polio incidence resurfacing in the country.

“This is why this supplemental exercise of polio immunisation is crucial to curb the virus from spreading.”

Haruna said immunisation officers would go from house to house, marketplaces, worship centres, schools, and other public places to immunise all children from age zero to 59 months.

He urged parents to present their children for immunisation to strengthen their immunity against the virus.

On his part, Executive Secretary, FCT Primary Health Care Board, Dr. Isah Vatsa, said that a made-in-Nigeria Indomie noodles would be given to every child who receives the vaccine.

This, according to him, will serve as an incentive to parents and caregivers to bring out their children for immunisation.

Vasta revealed that a total of 26,939 cartons of 40 pieces each of noodles, totalling 1.19 million pieces have been procured.

The strategy, we believe, will improve uptake of the vaccines and it will be strictly monitored to avoid abuse and misuse,” he added.

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Vasta said that a total of 1.3 million children ages zero to 59 months would be vaccinated with the novel Oral Polio Vaccine (nOPV2), adding that 1.2 million children from six weeks to 59 months would also be vaccinated with the Fractional Inactivated Polio Vaccine (FIPV).

He said that despite the polio-free status, the transmission of another strain, the Circulating Variant Poliovirus type2 (CVPV2) strain, had continued, with 168 cases in Nigeria in 2022 alone.

“For Nigeria to be completely Polio free, we must interrupt the residual risk of all forms of poliovirus and boost routine immunization coverage in the country. We are on course, as we have recorded only 14 cases in Nigeria in 2023,” he said.

Vatsa said that although no case was recorded in the FCT, the risk was high considering that the world is a global village.

According to him, the danger of not interrupting the transmission of the VPV2 variant is that the weakened virus can revert to a form that causes illness and paralysis.

He added that the FCT Administration, through its PHCDB, in collaboration with development partners has deployed several strategies to ensure that every eligible child was reached.

The executive secretary further said that all the Primary Health Care facilities and government hospitals across the six area councils of the FCT would be used as vaccination posts.

He equally said that provisions have been made for temporary vaccination posts in churches, schools, markets, village squares and other designated points to ease the stress on the parents and caregivers.

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WHO Coordinator, Integrated Health Service Delivery in the FCT, Dr. Kumshida Balami, noted that significant progress has been made to address the evolving risk of circulating vaccine-derived type 2 Polio in Nigeria.

She, however, said that despite efforts made, there were still challenges and gaps, adding, “We have issues regarding missed children in hard-to-reach communities, the major risk associated with the transmission of the virus, low immunity to type 2 Poliovirus, and insecurity among others.

“This is why we are here to inform residents about the immunisation campaign and the strategies employed to leave no child behind.”

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