Ex­perts warn of neg­a­tive im­pact of elec­tions to polio erad­i­ca­tion

Daily Trust - - NEWS - By Ruby Leo & Judd Leonard Okafor

An ex­pert re­view com­mit­tee on polio and rou­tine im­mu­ni­sa­tion has warned wan­ing po­lit­i­cal will could ham­per ef­forts to erad­i­cate polio virus from Nigeria and that next year gen­eral elec­tions could be a dis­trac­tion.

The com­mit­tee at its 27th meet­ing to as­sess Nigeria’s progress against polio noted lit­tle vis­i­ble im­pact of gov­er­nors and lo­cal govern­ment chair­per­sons in the first quar­ter of 2014, af­ter con­tin­ued fall in their ac­tiv­i­ties in the past two years.

The rate of gov­er­nors meet­ing their pub­lic was 61% last year, down from 67% in 2012, ac­cord­ing to the com­mit­tee’s as­sess­ment, af­fect­ing their abil­ity to push ad­vo­cacy.

Gov­er­nors meet­ing with coun­cil chair­men also fell to 54% last year, down from 75% in 2012. They met even less with tra­di­tional rulers-46% last year, down from 50% in 2012.

“We still have pock­ets of lo­cal govern­ment ar­eas that are ei­ther stag­nant or de­clin­ing in per­for­mance,” said Dr. Ado Muham­mad, ex­ec­u­tive di­rec­tor of Na­tional Pri­mary Health Care De­vel­op­ment Agency.

“We are be­ing proac­tive to en­sure com­mit­ment and sup­port at lo­cal level is in tune with com­mit­ment of federal govern­ment.” The lack of vis­i­ble ad­vo­cacy so far this year comes amidst marked progress in anti-polio cam­paign, with only one case of the virus recorded this year in Kano and recorded in­crease in rou­tine im­mu­ni­sa­tion.

It is listed along­side Borno and Yobe as states where se­cu­rity chal­lenges that sti­fled the abil­ity of vac­ci­na­tors to ac­cess chil­dren.

For­mer Vice Pres­i­dent Atiku Abubakar (right) with for­mer Head of State Gen­eral Muham­madu Buhari, con­grat­u­lat­ing Asi­waju Bola Ahmed Tin­ubu (left), af­ter his in­vesti­ture as Chan­cel­lor of Ladoke Ak­in­tola Univer­sity of Tech­nol­ogy (LAUTECH) Og­bo­moso, Osun State on Wed­nes­day.

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