Polio: FG to introduce five vaccines in 15 states next year

ABUJA — The federal Government has concluded plans to introduce five vaccines against polio in 15 states in 2012, as part of measures to step up the fight against communicable diseases.

This came as the Minister of State for Health, Dr. Ali Pate, blamed the 2011 April elections in the country for resurgence of polio in Nigeria.

The vaccine, Pemtavalent, contains five antigens, effective against tetanus, diptheria, pertusis HIB and hepatitis B.

Also, findings have indicated negative indices in the national immunisation programme caused by the 2011 general elections as well as frequent strikes in the health sector.

The states include Kaduna, Jigawa, Bauchi, Kwara, Anambra, Enugu , Edo, Rivers, Akwa Ibom, Lagos, Ekiti and FCT among others.

Meanwhile, Minister of State for Health, Dr. Ali Pate, has blamed the resurgence of polio in the country on the 2011 general elections.

Pate said in Abuja that periods of electioneering in Nigeria had been noted to witness resurgence of polio in some parts of the country.

For states like Kebbi, Jigawa and Kano, he said the resurgence  was also due to refusal of parents to allow their children take part in the programme or that vaccines could not reach them.

He said: “Looking at polio eradication around political transition periods, we have always had one reason or the other to actually have resurgence. 2003 then exactly 2004, 2007 elections, then we have major resurgence. 2011 was not a surprise in the sense that we anticipated it before the election and we quickly placed mechanisms to deliver it.”

“Despite what we are seeing as increase in cases compared to what we had last year, the grand factor could have been enormous compared to what it is now, that is not to give us comfort for really to say that we can’t control this and with the first election advocacy we initiated immediately after the campaigns, the governor’s forum and high level advocacy projects.”

He also disclosed that the Ministry was planning to send NYSC medical doctors to local governments during their service years for health service and polio campaign.

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By Victoria Ojeme 

Source: Vanguard

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