The Kwara State Government on Thursday disinfected major rivers and adjoining areas in the Ilorin metropolis after health officials recently discovered a polio virus inside the river.
The campaign which was led by the Deputy Governor of the state, Mr Kayode Alabi, was a step to quickly prevent a reoccurrence of vaccine-derived polio cases in the state.
The exercise was part of the activities commemorating the World Polio Day and deepening the campaign against all forms of environment abuses that are capable of posing health hazards to the people.
Mr Alabi said at Amule, in Ilorin East Local Government area of the state at the flag off of the cleaning exercise that government is aware of environmental challenges in the state and would spare no effort in fixing them stressing that River Amule is one of the rivers with polio infection threat.
“We needed to clear this river and other ones to eliminate polio totally out of the state.”
The deputy governor said the government will continue to educate the public to imbibe the habit of keeping their environment clean.
Governor AbdulRahman AbdulRazaq had recently inaugurated a Task Force chaired by the Deputy Governor to ensure proper and timely immunisation against polio and other diseases.
Organized by the state Ministry of Environment and Forestry, the Thursday’s sanitation programme was attended by environmental health workers, volunteer students of the University of Ilorin and members of the Rotary Club.
The Permanent Secretary of the Environment Ministry, Alhaji Amosa Isiaka Al-Amin said the choice of Amule River for the flag off of the clean-up exercise followed a World Health Organisation ‘s survey on the polio threatening rivers in the city, where Amule emerged as one that mostly harbors polio virus.
“We found out that this river is one of the rivers that harbor polio virus which means there is the need for its clean-up. The state government has purchased some chemicals that can render the virus impotent and that is why we commence the mop-up exercise here,” Al-Amin explained.
The Chairman of Health Committee, Rotary Club of Ilorin, Otunba Rick Oladeke lamented that Nigeria remains the only endemic nation in the African Sub-region on the WHO’s polio map.
He said the club would soon organise a mega walk to further educate the public on the subject.
The President of the University of Ilorin Students’ One Health Initiative (UNILOSOHI), Miss Lateefah Abdulkarim emphasized the need for parents to present their children for vaccination to make them healthy and prevent diseases.