Kaduna — To tackle the transmission of Wild Polio Virus (WPV), routine immunization officers in Kaduna have said that Routine Immunization (RI) must be updated and surveillance improved if polio is to be eradicated.
One of the officers from Igabi Local Government Area, Sahad Lawal, who spoke at a town hall meeting organized for communities at the grassroots in Kaduna ahead of the national vaccine summit in Abuja, said that most of the rural people are ignorant of campaigns being carried out on polio, and do not know how to prevent themselves against polio.
"In fact most of the rural communities have low immune level in their system and they also lack knowledge on how to prepare diets that can boost their immune system," he said.
Lamenting that great challenges of health in Nigeria are more in the rural areas, he advised government to provide motorcycles in every ward to help reach people in the rural areas that are not easily accessible.
"This will enhance immunization exercises at the grassroots; it will increase health education of the people as well as increase acceptability of vaccine immunization at the grassroots," he said.
According to a consultant with John Hopkins University, saddled with the responsibility of ensuring that the town hall meeting is held at the North-west zone, Dr. Nonnie Roberson, the essence of the meeting is to hear from the grassroots their challenges before implementing policies.
"We want to know why every child in Nigeria is not immunized; how we can meet the MDG4 by 2015 and to know why one million children die annually from preventable diseases. We want to know the challenges so that when the stakeholders sit together in Abuja, we would look at the challenges holistically," she noted.
One of the objectives of the summit, she said, is to sensitize high level political and business leaders that vaccines promote child survival and have economic benefits for Nigeria as well as to raise pledges of support for routine immunization from Nigerian leaders across the political, business, traditional and religious spectrum among others. "Our aim is to see that every Nigerian child is immunized," she added.