The Country Director, World Health Organisation, Walter Mulombo, has appealed for action from the Nigerian Government as the Country looks to significantly improve in the quality and impact of the circulating Variant Polio Virus type 2 (cVPV2) outbreak in Nigeria.
Mulombo said achieving zero cases of cVPV2 in 2023 remains a possibility if the country could continue to strengthen the partnership to surmount the current risks.
“Reaching and sustaining zero cases of cVPV2 in Nigeria in 2023 is achievable if we can continue to strengthen the partnership to surmount the current risks:
Addressing the residual risk of persistent cases of cVPV2 in Northwest state while maintaining resilience mostly in the southern zones.”
He made the call during the 40th Expert Review Committee (ERC) meeting on polio and routine immunization in Abuja
“As we progress towards zero cases of cVPV2, it is becoming more imperative, that Nigeria is further guided and supported to bring to the front burner the urgency to recover, sustain and build resilience for its primary health care.
“The current outbreak of diphtheria shows significant gaps in this regard, hence the need for a call to action.”
While he commended the Government for its giant stride towards a journey to zero for cVPV2 since the last Expert Review Committee (ERC), he solicited improved deployment of resources for better impacts.
“More than 13 rounds of SIAs have been conducted with a commensurate increase in quality particularly in accessible areas.
“The country continues to deploy innovative strategies in insecure areas through stronger community engagement and collaboration with partners. Sokoto, Zamfara, Katsina and Kebbi have been identified as axis of intractable transmission, thus requiring additional resources and cooperation of stakeholders for more impactful reach with surveillance and vaccines.”
He called for efforts to bridge immunity with a view to avert risk of cVPV1/WPV1 importation
“Advancing support for integration and optimization of interventions to address over 10million zero dose children build up since COVID-19 pandemic. The BIG CATCH-UP campaign agenda should be prioritized.”