The United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) has urged governments at all levels to ensure routine immunisation in order to end polio among Nigerian children.
Mr Bhanu Pathak, UNICEF Chief of Bauchi state Field Office, gave the advice at the ongoing Mid-Year review meeting of the field office on Tuesday in Jos, Plateau state capital.
Pathak, who assumed office three months ago, decried the poor level at which children, particularly in the north were immunised, describing it as a serious challenge for UNICEF.
“Polio is a global issue but its prevalence in Nigeria is still a major concern to us in UNICEF. A lot of children, particularly in the northern part of the country, are not fully immunised and it is a big challenge to us as an agency who is working to save the lives of children. It is very key to us and we are working hard in that area, we call on government at all levels to support us in achieving this,” he urged.
The UNICEF boss expressed optimism that polio could be eradicated in the country with intensified efforts to get every child immunised.
“It is very possible to eradicate polio from Nigeria, because it was eradicated in other countries. However, we must develop a mechanism that will ensure sustained and routine immunisation, where children are immunised on time. So, with improved immunisation system in our communities, Nigeria will be completely free from polio,” Pathak said.
The Chief of Field Office said children were facing a myriad of challenges, particularly in the six states under him, but assured that UNICEF was working assiduously to addressing them.
The Bauchi Field Office comprises of six states: Bauchi, Adamawa, Taraba, Jigawa, Gombe and Plateau states.