The Federal Government, yesterday, condemned the polio status in the country, noting that Nigeria, in August 2011, recorded 26 cases of polio in six states in contrast to six during the corresponding period in 2010.
The affected states are Borno, Kebbi, Jigawa, Kano, Zamfara, Sokoto and Yobe. The cases mainly are due to the high number of unimmunized children as a result of refusal of the vaccine by some parents and caregivers as well as children being absent.
President Goodluck Jonathan, who disclosed this in Abuja during the national flag-off ceremony of the September 2011 sub-National Immunisation Plus Days (SIPDs) and launch of the Polio- free Torch Campaign, said, “I understand that in August this year, 26 children in six states across the nation were confirmed to have been paralysed by the virus. This is unacceptable”.
He said it was the responsibility of state governors, traditional and religious leaders to ensure that polio vaccine, made available freely by the Federal Government and the development partners, get to the children in their domain.
Jonathan, who was represented by Vice President Namadi Sambo, restated the Federal Government’s commitment to seeing that the wild polio virus is eradicated in the country by 2012.
In his remarks, Minister of Health, Prof Onyebuchi Chukwu, said what was needed now was action, saying, “we have talked long enough”.
He noted that the launch of the Polio- free Torch would inspire and mobilize all Nigerians to do away with the virus from getting to children.
By Daniel Idonor & Victoria Ojeme
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