Nigeria may be certified polio-free this December when it would have accomplished interruption of Wild Polio Virus (WPV) transmission for over three years. By July and August, the country would have gone through 36 months without reporting any case of WPV. The last cases were recorded in Borno State between July and August 2016.
According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), after three years of no incident of the virus on the African continent, official ‘certification’ of polio eradication would be conducted at the regional level. The global organisation, for the first time on September 25, 2015, delisted Nigeria from the polio-endemic list after interrupting transmission for 12 months beginning from July 24, 2014.
The documentation is an assemblage of verifiable evidence from 1998 to date of what the Polio Eradication Initiative (PEI) Programme had done over the years with respect to Acute Flaccid Paralysis (AFP) Surveillance; Polio Supplemental Immunization Activities (SIAs); and Routine Immunization (RI). The PEI Programme in Nigeria, domiciled in the National Emergency Operations Centre for Polio within our agency, NPHCDA, is working assiduously to ensure this happens come December.
Meanwhile, WHO has warned that the number of measles cases globally shot up by 300 per cent last year. The United Nations (UN) apex health agency said four times as many cases were reported between January and March 2019 compared to the corresponding period of 2018. Government and non-governmental organizations should intensify efforts to help control the spread of measles.