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Nigeria: Govt Releases N9.8 Billion to Tackle Polio Outbreak

The federal government has approved the release of N9.8bn to fight wild polio resurgence in the country, especially in the North East.

The minister of Health, Prof Isaac Adewole, who disclosed this at a press briefing in Abuja, yesterday, said the money would be released by Monday.

This is just as he said Nigerian pilgrims going on hajj to Saudi Arabia were expected to undergo “compulsory immunisation against polio as one of the conditions for entering the holy land.”

Prof. Adewole added that adequate supplies of vaccines had been provided at different international port health locations and airports in line with the international health regulations.

He further disclosed that the new response plan would inlcude five rounds of polio campaigns, three of which would be focused on 18 Northern states and two to be conducted nationwide.

“We have earmarked N9.8bn for polio and by Monday the entire N9.8bn will be released. For the sub-national campaigns, 31, 540, 054 children are targeted to be vaccinated each round with oral vaccines across states in the North-East, North-West and North-Central zones of the country. For the nationwide response, 56, 363, 618 children will be vaccinated between October and November 2016.

“The revised plan was informed by factors such as historical data on WPV affected areas, pattern of transmission over the last five years, population displacement due to insecurity in the North-East, likelihood of spread of the virus to other neighbouring countries and population immunity.

“Furthermore, the justification for the expansion of the initial schedule includes the fact that, given previous history of exportation to other countries and the suboptimal routine immunisation coverage in several countries in the African region, the response requires that adequate protection be provided to the vulnerable children at risk of infection.

“Reports from the detailed investigation carried out by our team revealed that both cases came from security compromised areas of Borno State, which have limited access to any form of health services including immunisation,” he added.

Source: Leadership