By; MOHAMMED KAWU, Bauchi.
For polio to be completely eradicated from Nigeria, parents have to join hands with government at all levels by presenting their children from year zero to five for routine and supplementary immunizations.
Bauchi State Primary Health Care Development Agency (SPHCDA) Chairman, Alhaji Adamu Ibrahim Gamawa Wednesday made the remark during a one-day workshop organized for female journalists and members of Journalists against Polio (JAP) in Bauchi in collaboration with United Nations Children Education Fund (UNICEF) and World Health Organization (WHO).
Alhaji Adamu Gamawa said that all efforts must be made by every stakeholder to ensure that Bauchi State maintain its current polio-free status, adding that for the state to be certified polio-free, “we have to wait for three months accessing the situation.”
Gamawa lamented the recent discovery of three polio cases in Borno State which, he said, has held down Nigeria’s certification as a polio-free country, stressing that the country can only make progress in its quest to fight polio to an end through immunization.
“If we don’t have routine immunization, the case of polio can be back to Nigeria by surprise and it will spread all over Nigeria,” Gawama warned.
He therefore urged parents to allow government undertake house to house immunization of children in the state, and disclosed that another round of the immunization in the state will be held in October and November.
According to him, before the commencement of the immunization exercise, adequate enlightenment will be carried out with a view to sensitizing the people on the need to allow their children to be immunized against polio virus.
A representative of the World Health Organization (WHO), Dr. Habu Dahiru has in a presentation noted that Bauchi State is currently among the 11 states classified as polio-free in the country.
Dr. Habu Dahiru, who recalled that wild polio virus (WPV) was detected in Nigeria in July, 2014, said that Bauchi State has not recorded any case for over 35 months now, adding that the last case of polio recorded in Bauchi State was in September 2013.
He explained that normal house to house strategy was being conducted in four days, while the teams have to plead with the parents of the children before been allowed to immunize them.
Dahiru also said statistics gathered revealed that 21% of parents always tell immunization officials that the children have taken many immunization, so they will not take more, while 11% do not give any reason for not allowing their children take immunization, 17% will say that their religion beliefs will not allow them.
The representative further explained that in order to ensure adequate coverage, immunization officials sometimes target some social events like naming ceremony, wedding, to immunize children.
“So to prevent our children from contacting this disease, we need to give our children immunization up till five years,” he concluded.