Africa

Nigeria’s Federal Capital Territory (FCT) Minister Pledges to Support Implementation of Polio Transition Plan to Preserve Legacy

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With the impending accelerated downsizing of the polio program in Nigeria, the World Health Organization (WHO) Country Representative (WR), Dr Walter Kazadi Mulombo, followed his advocacy train on implementation. implementation of the Polio Transition Plan to Mallam Muhammed Musa Bello, the Honorable Minister of the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja.

The meeting held on May 11, 2021 in the minister’s boardroom follows the fast-track polio reduction plan, which means that with polio-free status, WHO will no longer receive funding for the control program program from the Global Polio Eradication Initiative (GPEI) from January 2022.

In his opening remarks at the meeting, Dr Mulombo thanked the Minister for “all your efforts to improve health indicators in the CTF. Through the Polio infrastructure, we have provided support in the planning, implementation, monitoring and evaluation of public health programs, aimed at preventing, promoting and protecting the health of the Nigerian population in accordance with the goals and objectives of the National Health Plan.

Through this structure, we have been able to achieve polio eradication and maintain oversight of certification standards in the territory since the last case of WPV reported in 2013 in FCT. “

Unfortunately, with success comes the grim reality of dwindling resources and the fact that from January 2022, the GPEI partnership has indicated that it will withdraw its financial support to Nigeria in order to focus its resources squarely. on eradication efforts in the last two endemic countries, Pakistan and Afghanistan.

WR recalled that Nigeria had been removed from the list of three remaining wild polio virus (WPV) endemic countries in the world in August 2020. Despite certification, work on polio eradication continues in order prevent import risks until global certification is achieved. In addition, outbreaks of circulating vaccine-derived polio virus (cVDPV2) continue to pose a major risk to the program due to suboptimal immunity in the population.

With this realization, the WR sought the support of Minister FCT to ensure that the skilled and experienced workforce and assets are absorbed by government to ensure continuity and support other public health interventions. .

Specifically, the WR mentioned that these resources can be used to strengthen routine immunization, consolidate investments in disease surveillance, and support the revitalization of primary health care services that align with the government’s health agenda.

Responding to WR‘s prayer, the CTF Minister said, “We will provide the necessary support so that the success of the polio program and the capacity built over the years is not lost.”

He mentioned that Nigeria cannot be complacent as no “country is polio free unless eradication is achieved everywhere”. He also highlighted the importance of transferring polio assets to address other public health issues presented by the WR.

According to him, “We will take advantage of the rich pool of qualified personnel to strengthen the PHC staff, working on an internal assessment to obtain appropriate data to see how much of the polio workforce the CTF can absorb.”

In addition, the minister asked the WHO to consider working hard to involve private sector stakeholders like CACOVID in the response to COVID-19, including vaccination. He pledged that the CTF can support the hosting of private sector donors as needed.

During the meeting, the WHO Regional Director for Africa, General Management Group, Mr. Mahen Sandrasagren, and Dr. Pascal Mkanda, the Polio Eradication Program Coordinator who virtually participated, recognized the great achievements of the polio eradication program in Nigeria, but said that funding for the program will be withdrawn at the end of 2021. With this scenario, the government of Nigeria will have to resume funding of the polio control functions. polio or mobilize resources to make the transition smooth and to avoid set back the success of polio eradication.

In the CTF, WHO has a technical team made up of national administrators, LGA facilitators and a state coordinator to support efforts to improve disease surveillance, routine immunization coverage, activities immunization programs and also support efforts to address the burden of noncommunicable diseases. , emergencies and strengthening of the health system. WHO staff in the CTF also support training and capacity building in early warning systems for public health events and in emergency response preparedness, among other interventions.

Senior officials from the CTF and WHO attended the meeting.

Polio eradication support to the Government of Nigeria through WHO is made possible with funding from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Department for International Development, European Union, Gavi, Vaccine Alliance, Global Affairs Canada, German Government, through KfW Bank, Japan International Cooperation Agency, Korea Foundation for International Health Care, Rotary International, United States Development Agency international, US Center for Disease Control and Prevention, and World Bank.

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