Authorities of the Ministry of Health, in collaboration with partners, have announced the commencement of a nationwide integrated polio vaccination campaign for this year targeting about 945,463 children. The exercise will also include de-worming as well as the administration of Vitamin A tablet to each of the targeted children.
The campaign, according to the Director of the Expanded Program of Immunization (EPI), will run from October 23 to 26.
She said the polio vaccination will be administered to children between 0 and 59 months, while the Vitamin A tablets will be administered to all children between 6-59 months. The de-worming tablets will, however, be administered to children between the ages of 12 and 59 months.
Madam Mamolu said advocacy and social mobilization activities are ongoing nationwide to inform the public about the campaign so that parents can take advantage of the exercise by bringing their age eligible children to be vaccinated during the four day exercise.
Ahead of the campaign, vaccinators, supervisors, monitors and other frontline workers have been deployed to reach children in various communities through the house to house promotion.
“Let’s make sure that we protect our children from childhood diseases to grow up as healthy citizens,” said Mamolu.
During this campaign, she said “about 955,463 children are expected to receive the polio vaccinations. Of that number, 843,000 will benefit from the Vitamin A tablets while 730,600 of them are expected to be treated with Mebendazole or the de-worming medication.”
The Head of Polio Unit at UNICEF, Peter Crowley, in his World Polio Day message said “never before in the history of polio have so smaller number of children in so few countries contracted the crippling virus,” but observed that there will be no rest until the number of cases is zero.
“Progress to end polio is real and dramatic, with now just two countries in the world where the wild polio virus has never been interrupted, Afghanistan and Pakistan, but until all children everywhere are consistently and routinely immunized against polio, the threat remains,” Mr. Crowley warned.
He said, three years ago, Nigeria was the reservoir of more than half of all polio cases in the world, but this year, for the first time in history, Nigeria has succeeded in interrupting transmission of wild polio virus. Nigeria was removed from the list of polio endemic countries last month.
Accordingly, he said Nigeria’s remarkable achievement has brought the country and African region closer than ever to being certified polio-free.
“The aim is to bring a global halt to polio transmission by this time next year, but the only way to do this is for countries with low vaccination dates to re-double their efforts to reach every child, wherever they are and no matter how hard this may be,” Mr. Crowley added.