UNICEF: Nigeria’s polio-free status fragile

Calls for routine vaccination, awareness
The United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) has warned the Federal Government against complacency in the fight against polio in a bid to avoid a resurgence or importation of the disease.

The country was at the verge of being declared polio-free in 2016, having been free of polio for 26 months, until cases were found in Borno State, according to The Nation.

Checkout Magazine reported that Nigeria was certified polio-free last August by the World Health Organisation (WHO).

Speaking during a media dialogue in Yola for reporters on routine Immunisation and COVID-19 vaccination, Communication for Development (C4D) Specialist with UNICEF Elizabeth Onitolo said: “When children miss their routine immunisation, they are not able to fight diseases, as a result of COVID-19 lockdown.

“We are here to increase awareness on the implication of missed immunisation on children, which has led to the resurgence of illnesses (measles, yellow fever, meningitis and tuberculosis) and polio.

“Nigeria’s certification calls for cautious celebration. The success recorded is still fragile because immunisation coverage is still low. Many parents are still not compliant while many children have not been vaccinated.

“Because of the lockdown, we told our mobilisers to urge mothers to go to health centres for immunisation. Many missed their schedule due to COVID-19 lockdown. The BCM collected the numbers of the mothers, called and followed them up.”

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