Polio: 3 yrs after, COVID-19, insecurity threaten onslaught against re-emerging viruses – Minister   

Polio: 3 yrs after, COVID-19, insecurity threaten onslaught against re-emerging viruses – Minister   

As Nigeria celebrates three years of free status the federal government, Thursday, said the impact of COVID-19 and the emerging insecurity in the country was threatening its onslaught against re-emerging variants of polio viruses.
Speaking at the three-year anniversary of Wild Poliovirus eradication in Nigeria, the Minister of Health, Dr Osagie Ehanire, explained the re-emerging variants of the Polio Viruses, cVPV2, were remnants in the environment as a result of suboptimal environmental sanitation.
He said: “It can potentially be virulent and affect children who have not been enrolled in the Routine Immunization system.
The Minister who expressed government’s concern at the development, however assured of government’s readiness to effectively handle the situation.
According to him, the government had directed and guided the National Primary Health Care Development Agency, NPHCDA, “to mount the needed response to deal with these viruses within an integrated framework in order to address other public health challenges including the ongoing COVID-19 vaccination in the country.”
He noted: “The past three years have been a mixed bag of events for the country as the impact of COVID-19 affected our health system, and also the emerging security in some parts of the country poses a challenge to the  onslaught of the re-emerging variants of the Polio Viruses (cVPV2) which are remnants in the environment as a result of suboptimal environmental sanitation and can potentially be virulent and affect children who have not been enrolled in the Routine Immunization system.
“The commemoration was a very significant day giving the progress we have made in the country after several decades of efforts to eradicate the disease which has crippled many of our children.
“This day did not come easy as government and development partners made huge investments and sacrifices over the years. The day may have come too late for those who have been paralysed and those frontline health workers who paid the supreme price for the triumph of eradicating the disease. “However, for the millions of children who are prevented from the crippling effects of WPV these sacrifices will not go in vain and therefore the significance of commemorating this day,” he added.
According to him, “The main focus of today is to appreciate those heroes and champions from both government and our development partners who made huge investments and sacrifices and also to create awareness in our people that it takes even greater investments and sacrifices to sustain and maintain our WPV eradication status “
While appreciating all the efforts of the present administration, he charged stakeholders not to be complacent, given the re-emerging viruses.
He assured that “the Federal Ministry of Health will remain deeply committed to continue to support NPHCDA and partners to ensure that the needed resources are provided to maintain the eradication of all types of the poliovirus and strengthen routine immunization services.”
 

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