WHO sat­is­fied with Nige­ria’s po­lio erad­i­ca­tion claim –PHCDA

The Punch - - NEWS - Olufemi Atoyebi, Abuja

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

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