Security Issues, Setback for Polio Eradication in Nigeria

Dr. Tunji Funsho, Chairman Nigeria National PolioPlus Committee has attributed security issues especially in some northern states of the country as the main cause why the eradication plan of polio is drawn back in the country.

Tunji made the statement at a media chat on ways to eradicate polio which was organized by the Nigeria National PolioPlus Committee (NNPPC), held at the Rotary International Club GRA, Ikeja Lagos.

He said the main aim of Rotary International is to eradicate polio from the face of the earth and to make people immune to the disease even if it is in the area.

He explained that the main objective of the media chat is to acquit the press with the efforts of the Rotary International to eliminate polio and to create awareness for the world polio day coming up this month.

He added that Nigeria, Pakistan and Afghanistan are the only countries in the world still experiencing polio cases,” an effort of PolioPlus is to ensure that Nigeria is not the last country in history to eradicate polio”.

He noted that there are 3 types of polio disease at which the 2nd type and the 3rd type have been eradicated since last year. He added that type 1 of the polio still exists in the Northern part of Nigeria.

He attributed supplementary immunization activities (SIAS), Mop Up activities, Permanent Health Teams, Fire Walling and Routine Immunization Activities as the currently employed strategies put in place to eradicate polio in the country.

Dr. Tunji said that lack of routine immunization causes polio disease to spread to countries that are not experiencing the problem before.

The chairman however made it known that 98 percent of funds spent on polio vaccination is from abroad adding that by the end of this year, Rotary International in conjunction with PolioPlus aim at eradicating polio cases in Nigeria.

He said “Nigerian government, UNICEF, World Health Organization (Who), Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and some NGOs are helping with the Polio eradication processing”.

He added that polio survival crew is a powerful tool in encouraging people that don’t want their wards to get immunizations.

He advised people to let their children be immunized because the polio disease is still on the rampage out there.

Mr. Yemi Osilaja, a Rotarian, admonished the people to change their attitudes towards polio immunization.

He said “many Nigerian especially those living in the Southern and Western parts of the country believed that the polio problem is only the problem of the Northern states. But it shouldn’t be so because we are all Nigerians and we are all involved in the problem”.

He said there will be six hours nonstop riding of bicycles to give awareness about the world day eradication of polio.

He noted that the riding of the bicycle will be a relay kind of race, adding that the race will be done to raise fund for the world eradication of polio day.

According to him “there will be SMS fund raising, official bankers will be sponsors, energy drinks companies and many others are going to help raise fund for the race that will take place next month”

Mrs. Onikepo Oshodi, past deputy governor of the rotary international appealed to entrepreneurs and Nigerians to come to help to fight polio by raising funds for the polio day.

She advised women NGOs to take the fund raising serious because she believed it concerns women folk more than the men folk.

The Rotary International have however worked generally in helping eradicate and create awareness against many diseases in the world.

Also present at the event are Rotarian Olugbemiga Olowu, the district governor, PDG Olawale Cole, PDC Femi Lawani, Rotarian Adeniji Raji, Rotarian Adeogun, vice Chairman South- West and other Rotarian members.

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