Bill Gates Won’t Like Polio Resurgence In Nigeria, But...

Discussion in 'Member's Hub' started by LanrePeter, Oct 27, 2016. Views count: 494

  1. LanrePeter

    LanrePeter Member

    The fight to keep Nigeria Polio free again.
    In 2012, Nigeria had a serious polio problem. It was Africa's only remaining polio endemic country, with an increasing number of new polio-virus cases. Eventually, it reached 122 that year, which was the worst performance of all polio endemic countries.

    Then, Nigeria founded a presidential task force to lead the country's response to the eradication of polio. So, it created a plan to work with national and international organizations such as National Primary Health Care Development Agency (NPHCDA) and World Health Organization (WHO). United Nations children's Funds (UNICEF). Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, and others.

    Polio eradication, which is one of Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation's top priorities, is the reason why it is a major supporter of Global Polio Eradication Initiative (GPEI) to completely end polio globally by 2020.

    Yearly, it costs about US$1 billion to execute and improve vaccination campaigns needed to keep the crippling virus away. In a second, imagine a world without the disability induced virus, the one that limits children to cripples, I mean a world without polio.

    In 2015, three years after owning the worst performance, Nigeria was removed from the list of polio endemic countries. According to McKinsey & Company in a February 2016 report, the successful eradication of polio in Nigeria was credited to the country's novel approach to disease control which was said about as a model worthy of emulation.

    Nigeria's performance was impressive. Perhaps, one can say the government's support and collaboration with GPEI partners paid off.

    However, about 2 years after, the ugly virus' resurgence takes Nigeria back to war room. Three new cases were found in Borno. It should be noted that the new cases occurred as a result of the activities of Boko Haram Insurgents in Borno. Due to the incessant movement of inhabitants of the war torn areas which made it difficult for health officers to administer the vaccination programmes. Nevertheless, this is not good news for all stakeholders, but there is hope, because there is a winning approach that is proven to be effective.

    It is the war room approach which Nigeria took through the establishment of National and State Emergency Operation Centres (EOCs). It worked. By September 2015, immunity coverage had reached 97 percent of high risk areas.

    In order to become a polio free society again, the Federal Government of Nigeria is working to take back its endemic free status. To this end, it recently released N9.8billion for polio eradication and immunization programmes.

    Another reason is the commitment of President Muhammadu Buhari-led administration’s fight against corruption and insurgency.

    The winning of affected areas from the Boko Haram insurgency is also a step that will enhance the vaccination campaign efforts. Given the relative peace in that region now, there is required stability for taming the virus.

    With sufficient support, the NPHCDA’s commitment and expertise, Nigerians have no cause for alarm and Bill Gates need not frown.

    Polio will come to an end globally by 2020.

    I, Olanrewaju tweet @iamLanrePeter