Nigeria Suffers Polio Outbreak For The First Time Since 2014

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Health workers vaccinating children against polio in Nigeria. Photo: IRIN/Aminu Abubakar

The federal government has on Thursday confirmed an outbreak of Wild Polio Virus (WPV) in Borno state – the country’s first in two years.

Speaking on behalf of the Nigerian government, the Minister of Health Professor Isaac Adewole, revealed that the discovery and confirmation of the outbreak was as a result of strengthened surveillance due to improved accessibility which has been made possible by the recent military action in liberating more communities in the North-eastern part of the country.

A statement issued by the Assistant director, press and public relations, Federal Ministry of Health, Olajide Oshundun, stated that two children from Gwoza and Jere Local Government Areas of the state have been paralysed by the disease.

“Our priority right now is to rapidly boost immunity in the affected areas to ensure that no more children are affected by this terrible disease.”

The United Nations health agency also yesterday emphasized on the need to prioritize immunization of children in hard-to-reach areas such as the Lake Chad region, spanning several countries and often affected by conflict.

“We are deeply saddened by the news that two Nigerian children have been paralyzed by polio,” said Dr. Matshidiso Moeti, World Health Organization (WHO) Regional Director for Africa, in a news release.

“The overriding priority now is to rapidly immunize all children around the affected area and ensure that no other children succumb to this terrible disease,” she added.

The development is seen as a major setback for Nigeria, which was on track to be declared polio free in 2017.



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