The Executive Director of National Primary Healthcare Development Agency, Dr Faisal Shuaib has said Nigeria has recorded an unprecedented progress of 10 per cent increase in routine immunization over two years.
He revealed this on Monday in Abuja during the 36th meeting of the Expert Review Committee for Polio Eradication and Routine Immunization in Nigeria.
He explained that the surveillance over the past 25 months proposes a free polio Nigeria in the next 11 months.
“For the very first time we are very close to polio eradication, we’ve gone over 25months now with very strong surveillance showing clearly that we are not missing wild polio cases”.
“If this positive trajectory continues, then it is very likely that certification institutions will review the progress and certify us a polio-free nation.
“It will be an unprecedented declaration in the life of Nigerians; a situation where no single child is paralysed due to wild polio virus.” He said.
Shuaib noted that mothers even in urban areas are yet to realize the need for their kids to be immunized.
He said, “One of the greatest challenges we still face is around mothers and care givers bringing their kids to health facilities to access routine immunization, even in the urban centers where places are accessible.
“We still have that challenge largely because folks have not realized the need for kids to take the full complement of routine immunization vaccines let alone in the hard-to-reach areas.”
The Chairman of the Expert Review Committee, Prof. Oyewale Tomori, said key stakeholders have the enthusiasm to end polio and strengthen routine immunization programmes in the country.
He further urged the federal government not to relent on its routine immunization programmes even after securing certificate of a polio-free status.
On his part, the outgoing Country Representative, World Health Organization, Dr. Wondi Alemu, stress that routine immunization remained key for polio eradication and the sustaining population immunity.