Insurgency slowing down polio vaccinations in Borno – NPHDA

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Executive-Director of the National Primary Healthcare Development Agency (NPHCDA), Dr. Faisal Shuaib

The Executive-Director of the National Primary Healthcare Development Agency (NPHCDA), Dr. Faisal Shuaib, says the boko haram insurgency is preventing the vaccination of  an estimated 160,000 children, who are trapped in yet-to-be liberated areas in Borno State.

Dr.Shuaib was speaking at the 35th Meeting of the Expert Review Committee in Abuja.

“Unless and until, we have access to these LGAs and smaller wards, it is difficult for us to say categorically that polio has been eradicated. We still have access problems in Abadam LGA, in Marte LGA and we still have some areas of Bama, Dambowa, Ngala LGA and  Magumeri LGA.  

“These are areas that have a larger proportion of over 160,000 children Under-5, that we are trying to reach with life saving vaccines. Unless we are able to reach these kids, we cannot guarantee that polio transmission is not occurring in Nigeria,” Shuaib said.

The Executive Director added: ” We must have all hands on deck to ensure that the final LGA, the Final ward, the final community where there might be potential circulation of wild polio viruses are reached. We need to reach all the kinds with the vaccines. We are so closed, it’s unbelievable what pushing ahead can achieve.”

The World Health Organisation (WHO) in 2015 deleted Nigeria from the list of polio endemic countries but a fresh outbreak in 2016 put the country back on the list.