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Saturday, 24 October 2015

World Polio Day: ‘Complacency could bring polio virus back’

The international philanthropy Rotary has warned the country risked slipping into complacency if it gets carried with being removed from a list of polio-endemic countries.

Chairman of Rotary’s Nigeria National Polio Plus Committee, Tunji Funsho, said overwhelming emphasis on Nigeria being “polio-free” after stopping transmission of type 1 wild poliovirus for the past 15 months might lead to complacency.
At a press briefing to commemorate World Polio Day in Abuja, Funsho said, “We have gone a full year without polio, but for us to truly be polio free, we need to go two more years, and it promises to be tough.”
World Health Organisation is to officially inform Nigerian government on October 26 of its being removed from a list of endemic countries that now has only Pakistan and Afghanistan, some 15 months after the last recorded case of type 1 polio since July 2014.
Type 2 poliovirus has not been recorded in the past 17 years, and there has been no record of type 3 poliovirus in the past 34 months. But Funsho explained that Nigeria will need to go without new polio infections until 2017 before it is certified free and the virus eradicated.
Rotary, which has spent some $300m to fight polio in Nigeria, said eradicating the virus will require intensified routine immunisation and better efforts to reach children in security-compromised areas.
Misbahu Didi, president of Polio Survivors Group, which is staging a walk and para-soccer competition in Abuja this weekend, said survivors crippled by childhood polio need support and encouragement to function in society.

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