Foreign

Polio vaccine campaign targets more than 116 million African children

Published

on

News Today 2

Health workers are preparing to vaccinate more than 116 million children against polio across West and Central Africa, the Global Polio Eradication Initiative (GPEI) said on Friday.

This campaign is in a drive to contain an outbreak of the disease in conflict-hit northeast Nigeria.

Vaccination teams are aiming to reach every child under five years in 13 countries from Mauritania to the Democratic Republic of Congo.

The Boko Haram insurgency in North East Nigeria had caused mass displacement, raising fears that polio outbreak could spread across borders and throughout the region.

After two years in which polio appeared beaten in Africa, Nigeria reported four cases in August, casting a shadow over global eradication hopes and driving the GPEI to launch one of the largest synchronised vaccination campaigns on the continent.

GPEI Director, Michel Zaffran, said “the goal is to ensure that polio has nowhere to hide.

“We won’t reach every child but we hope to get at least 90 per cent coverage. We will vaccinate as many as possible to ensure that the virus cannot circulate in any given community.’’

The polio virus, which invades the nervous system and can cause irreversible paralysis within hours, spreads rapidly among children, especially in unsanitary conditions in war-torn regions, refugee camps and areas where health care is limited.

Health experts estimate that for every case of polio that paralyses its victim, 200 silent infections go undetected.

Some 190,000 polio vaccinators will travel house-to-house in villages, towns and cities across the 13 countries, carrying the polio vaccines in ice-filled bags to ensure they do not spoil.

The vaccination teams will reach children on the move by targeting bus and train stations, toll plazas and country borders, said Rotary International, which is part of the GPEI.

Town criers, local guides, community leaders and radio stations have been engaged to spread the word about the campaign and educate people about its importance, according to Carol Pandak, director of Rotary International’s polio program.

“Through our successes in countries like India we have learned valuable lessons about how to minimise the risk of missing children,’’ said Pandak, who described the polio outbreak in Nigeria as a regional public health emergency.

The GPEI, launched in 1988, originally aimed to end all polio transmission by 2000.

While there has been a 99.9 per cent reduction in cases worldwide since the GPEI launch, fighting the last 0.1 per cent of polio has been far tougher than expected.

In Pakistan and Afghanistan, the last two countries where polio remains endemic, 33 cases were reported in 2016.

Before these latest infections, Nigeria’s last case was in July 2014.

Edited by: Abigael Joshua/Hadiza Mohammed-Aliyu
(NAN)

Short Link: https://wp.me/pcj2iU-2UmV

Abigael Joshua

Abigael Joshua: NNN is a Nigerian online news portal that publishes breaking news in Nigeria, and across the world. We are honest, fair, accurate, thorough and courageous in gathering, reporting and interpreting news in the best interest of the public, because truth is the cornerstone of journalism and we strive diligently to ascertain the truth in every news report. Contact: editor @ nnn.ng. Disclaimer.

Recent Posts

CAS tasks troops on professionalism, discipline COVID-19: PSC issues revised international travel protocol into Nigeria World Food Day: Food waste, threat to food security – Minister NYSC tasks 5m ex-corps members on national unity Buhari congratulates newly elected NUJ Executives Hand washing can reduce infections by 50% – Minister Nigeria spends $300m annually on barite importation Agriculture lifts 4.2m Nigerians out of poverty in 2 years – Minister There is hope; Northeast is at turning point – UN Top 50 Women in African Businesses Revealed After Data-Driven Research New skeleton find could reveal more about Vesuvius eruption Insurgency: There is hope, Northeast at a turning point– UN UNMISS and Ministry of Gender, Children and Social Welfare organize workshop in Juba on service delivery to communities Agric sector has lifted over 4.2m Nigerians out of poverty in 2 years – Minister Unlocking the potential of the African free trade area for rural women Bitcoin tops $60,000 on US fund approval hopes Nigerian Army to detonate expired explosives, alert Calabar residents High Commissioner of Seychelles accredited to the Republic of South Africa Shun violence, embrace peace, group advises Nigerians Nigerian govt to pay gratuities of 102 ex-Biafran soldiers – Magashi UNDP Africa Director calls for increased investment in new approach to accelerate Nigeria’s development Nigeria’s inflation rate drops to 16.63% – NBS EU military training mission in Mozambique to start operations APC state congress: Bauchi stakeholders reject Adamu Adamu’s anointed candidate TİKA Landscapes Tomb of Ottoman scholar Abu Bakr Effendi in Cape Town Nigerian Army buries Artillery School commandant in Abuja Arrest warrants issued for over 200 terrorism suspects in Turkey Hatch to Showcase Canada-Africa Solutions at Africa Accelerating 2021 Free movement of people a top priority, according to West African nations Italy not harassing law-abiding Nigerians – Unions Coronavirus: Peace Corps helps launch vaccination campaign in Mantasoa commune Eid-ul-Maulud: Nigerian govt declares Tuesday as public holiday Earned Allowances: Nigerian govt to pay varsity workers N22bn October ending – Ngige Nigerian govt flags-off distribution of Agric inputs to 7,386 Borno farmers Food ration cuts loom for those affected by crisis in northeast Nigeria as famine hits highest level in five years 9 out of 10 schools in Nigeria have no hand-washing facility for children – UNICEF Oyo Govt Set to Revoke contracts from 22 Firms COVID-19: 19 months after restriction, India reopens for foreign tourists Centre for Ethics rewards commissioner, others for Sterling performance Chinese yuan strengthens to 6.4386 against USD Friday Britain: Over 43,000 may have been given wrong COVID test results UK, Nigeria hold Sixth Ministerial Meeting for Economic Development Wema Bank Hosts High Net-worth Customers in Northern Nigeria, Reaffirms Commitment Teenager in court for alleged N2,000 phone robbery Douglas Ryder: Team Update Akeredolu backs constitutional roles for traditional rulers Valedictory Service: Follow footprints of remarkable predecessors — FCE (Technical) tasks graduating students Excellence NCPWD urges government, private organisations to consider employment of PWDs Lagos PDP state congress should be family affair – Spokesman UK Conservative MP David Amess stabbed ‘multiple times’ — News — – Nigeria and World News