Vanguard (Lagos)

21 February 2013

Nigeria: FCT Records Fresh Outbreak of Type One Wild Polio

Abuja — Three months after a reported case of wild polio in Jahi village, a community in the Abuja Municipal Area Council (AMAC), another case has been confirmed in Kabusa, Lugbe, FCT, an official said.

Dr. Rilwanu Mohammed, the Executive Secretary of the FCT Primary Health Care Development Board, said in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Thursday in Abuja, that the case of two and a half-year old Abubakar Usman was reported to the board two weeks ago during the immunisation plus days.

Mohammed told NAN that Usman had a case weakness of the limbs and samples were taken to Ibadan for test, a confirmation of the result was out on Feb. 18.

"In December, we had the first case of polio positive and the second case was also positive, so we have three cases in three months.

"That means we need to do more so as to curtail the transmission of polio in the FCT, so that it doesn't move to other states.

"Two weeks ago, when we were doing our immunisation, the child was reported to have weakness of the limbs.

"The first thing that we do when we have a child that has reported with the weakness of the limbs is to take the stool sample for investigation in Ibadan.

"We have taken the sample and it came out on the 18, the child is having wild polio virus type one.

"The whole of this year in the whole of this country, this is the first case of the virus; it's unfortunate that the father refused immunisation for all his children.

"He has a zero dose; that means he has not been immunised before, and unfortunately this child now has polio.

"The tendency of transmitting to other children around him, it is like an epidemic now; over 200 children are at risk of getting this polio.

"So, what we are going to do now is to carry out a mop-up campaign, to see that we curtail the whole of Kabusa ward."

He observed that cases of polio in the FCT were from people who migrated to the territory from other places.

According to Mohammed, once a child has paralysis it is irreversible.

Mohammed said the board would carry out a mop up campaign in the area and its environs, to curtail the spread of the virus to neighbouring communities.

He said more health workers would be involved in the mop up campaign, while traditional and religious leader would also collaborate to address the situation.

He noted that there was only one primary health centre in the area but assured that another centre would be established to boost routine immunisation.

Mohammed complained of cases of rejection by some residents.

He said that out of 12 wards of AMAC, there were about nine high-risk wards because of influx of people to those areas.

He said the board had a meeting with the WHO, UNICEF, AMAC, National Primary Health Care Development Agency, to discuss how the polio outbreak in the FCT could be addressed.

He identified paucity of fund and inadequate vaccinators as some of the major problems affecting smooth immunisation coverage in the area.

Mohammed noted that Nigeria had 96 per cent burden of polio in the whole world, with Afghanistan and Pakistan having only 4 per cent.

He commended government for making the vaccines available, and urged residents to accept immunisation, saying, "prevention is better than cure".

Mohammed urged the Polio Emergency Operation Centre to collaborate with the board to address the issue. (NAN)

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