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|Polio: Immunization sure way for prevention by flowbaze: 4:47 am On November 25, 2021|
By Doris Obinna
With several accolades that Nigeria has received globally on the fight against poliovirus, stakeholders believe that there is need to avoid complacency for complete eradication of the virus.
Warning on the dangers of the disease, World Health Organisation (WHO) describes polio as “a highly infectious viral disease, which mainly affects young children.
According to a public health expert, Dr. Olalekan Sunday, “the virus is transmitted by person-to-person spread mainly through the faecal-oral route or, less frequently, by a common vehicle such as contaminated water or food.
“The virus multiplies in the intestine from where it can invade the nervous system and it can cause paralysis.
“Initial symptoms of polio include fever, fatigue, headache, vomiting, neck stiffness and pain in the limbs.”
Sunday said, in a small proportion of cases, the disease causes paralysis, which is often permanent. There is no cure for polio; it can only be prevented by immunization.
He continued: “I think I would key into what Bill Gates said in the fight in sustaining polio, ‘The years ahead can be the moment when the fight to save the lives of children around the world turns into a popular movement; because the world has built a record of progress that proves dramatic change is possible in our lifetimes.’
“In many respects, Gates’ push for a new movement to put an end to diseases like polio resonates in Nigeria,” he said.
According to Sunday, notwithstanding, the Nigerian government’s resolve to go further in preventing the scourge, challenges appear to be an obstacle. Chief among the challenges standing in the way in combating polio is the state of insecurity in the country.
He observed that: “In 2014, the country witnessed an unprecedented progress, which was widely commended globally. When compared with 2013, it was about 89 per cent reduction in cases of poliovirus in Nigeria.
“Maintaining zero status involves improving routine immunization and maintaining high quality campaigns.” He added that “it would take a lot of hard work to remain polio-free, as campaigns will need to continue and vaccines will have to reach all children in the country several times a year.”
Nigeria must recognize the need to sustain and re-double efforts to ensure every child is reached, he said.
Nevertheless, health experts have warned that eradicating polio globally would depend primarily on stopping the disease in Pakistan and Afghanistan. For, as long as polio exists anywhere, it is a threat to children everywhere.
“The outstanding commitment and efforts that got Nigeria off the polio-endemic list must continue to keep Africa polio-free,” Sunday said.
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