WHO satisfied with Nigeria’s polio eradication claim –PHCDA
The National Primary health Care Development Agency on Sunday said the World health Organisation team that visited Nigeria to verify the nation’s claim of having eradicated polio was satisfied with what they saw after visiting some states in the country.
During the first phase of the assessment, the team visited Lagos, Oyo, Abia, Ebonyi, Delta and Edo states.
It will return in the first quarter of 2020 for the second and final visit.
The team’s recommendation will influence WHO’S decision on whether to grant Nigeria the certification of being a polio-free country or not.
During an event held to celebrate three years without a case of wild polio virus in Nigeria on August 21, 2019, the Executive Director of the NPHCDA, Dr Faisal Shuaib, said Nigeria had started the process of documentation towards the final stages of being declared a polio-free nation.
he said by June 2020, the country could achieve the poliofree status.
Shuaib said the last case of polio was recorded in Borno State on August 22, 2016.
In an exclusive interview with our correspondent, NPHCDA Incident Manager, National Polio Emergency Operation Centre, Dr Usman Adamu, said during the first phase of the Who’s Africa Regional Commission for Certification of Poliomyelitis Eradication visitation, the team conducted physical examination of Nigeria’s claim which was contained in the document submitted on polio eradication.
he said, “Generally, the Africa Regional Commission for Certification of Poliomyelitis Eradication came to Nigeria to assess our documentation.
If the country has spent three years without a case of wild polio virus from any part of the country, it means that the country is eligible to submit its final documentation.
“Final documentation means a robust document that details what the country has done and what efforts the government, stakeholders and development partners have done jointly to ensure total eradication of polio from Nigeria. That document will describe the sensitivity of our surveillance system and the current drive of the NPHCDA in ensuring quality immunisation.
“These are what the team is looking at in the last five years; to verify the sincerity of our claim. That is why they came to see physically what we have claimed in the documents so far submitted. Before any country is certified a polio-free nation, the process must be followed. The team included experts and professors of various callings from across the world.
“In the first phase which had been concluded, the team visited Lagos, Oyo, Abia, Ebonyi, Delta and Edo states. During the visit, their impression about what we are doing to eradicate polio in Nigeria was good. They were satisfied with what they saw. We are also confident that Nigeria will achieve the certification.”
Adamu said the team would return in 2020 at a date they would not announce, adding that parameters used in selecting the states visited were not made known to the Nigerian government and its health agencies.
he added, “The second phase of the visit will come in 2020 but they will not tell us when they will come. It is a dispassionate assessment and verification. They will also choose where to visit. We don’t know the parameters used to select the states. The type 2 and type 3 polio have been eradicated throughout the world but the type 1 has yet to be eradicated.”
•L-R: Governor of Imo State, Emeka Ihedioha; his wife, Ebere; and a former Chairman of MTN, Chief Pascal Dozie, during a stakeholders’ luncheon organised by the governor for professionals and captains of industry of Imo extraction at the Government House, Owerri… on Saturday. Photo: Imo State Government