National Primary Health Care Development Agency (NPHCDA) says it will leverage on
the experience of polio to strengthen Primary Health Care Centres (PHCs) in the country.
The Executive Director of NPHCDA, Dr Faisal Shuaib, made the disclosure at an event to commemorate the 2019 World Polio Day and National Polio Field Workers Award on Thursday in Abuja.
The award was organised by the Nigeria National Polio Plus Committee (NNPPC) under the Rotary International .
The awardees were recognised at both the state and national levels for their community volunteering and to primary healthcare workers who indicated greater sense of duty in the discharge of polio eradication services.
According to Shuaib, the NPHCDA will improve its routine immunisation.
He said “we will continue to strengthen routine immunisation. We will not rest until we ensure that every child is reached with lifesaving vaccines.”
On the commemoration of the World Polio Day, he said it was a special day set aside to recognise and celebrate brave men and women who went to great lengths to end polio in the country.
The NPHCDA boss said that as Nigerians marked the 2019 World Polio Day celebration, they must not forget that the polio war was not yet over.
He acknowledged and appreciated all the front line workers who worked hard toward achieving milestones in polio eradication.
He added that “the turning point of our polio fight is as a result of hard work by members of the National Emergency Operations Centre (NEOC). I wish to seize this opportunity to thank you immensely. We recognise the leadership of our traditional leaders who provided tremendous support toward the eradication of polio in the country.”
While acknowledging the key role of Rotary International in Nigeria and other donors, he said the organisation initiated the fight against polio in Nigeria since 1988 and had continued to be part of the fight.
Dr Tunji Funsho, the Chairman of NNPPC, said that the polio committee started work five years ago as part of Rotary International’s efforts “to appreciate those who ensured that those precious drops of polio vaccine reached the mouth of every vulnerable child in the country.”
He said under the Rotary International, 469 awardees have been recognised for their dedication in the discharge of polio eradication services.
He disclosed that the award included both cash and recognition plaques.
According to him, frontline workers are the foot soldiers of Polio Eradication Initiative, working at the local government areas and ward levels.
He said “these individuals include mostly vaccinators, ward focal persons, team supervisors, field volunteers, local immunisation officers (LIOs), Disease Surveillance and Notification Officers (DSNOs), volunteer community mobilisers (VCMs), town announcers, community and religious leaders.”
The Emir of Shonga in Kwara, Alhaji Haliru Yahaya, said that vaccines worked to protect children from preventable diseases including polio.
Yahaya said that even with better hygiene, sanitation and access to safe water, infections could still spread, hence, the need for Nigerians to keep vaccinating their children.
The Emir added that polio was a dangerous disease that could ruin the lives of children from early age.
He called on Nigerians to join hands to ensure that the country was declared polio free.
One of the recipients, Miss Fati Ibrahim, a polio survivor, urged parents to avail their children of the polio vaccine.