24 February 2014

Nigeria: Polio Vaccine Now Mandatory for India Bound Travellers

The Federal Government has made oral polio vaccine mandatory for India bound travelers from Nigeria.

The vaccination is to be taken six weeks before departure to India or other polio endemic countries, minister of health, Prof. Christian Onyebuchi Chukwu announced at the weekend.

Travelers from India to other countries endemic to polio will also undergo vaccination, he said.

A statement issued by the spokesman of the ministry Alhaji Isiaka Yusuf quoted the minister as saying "This directive is at the instance of the World Health Organization's advice to polio endemic countries such as Nigeria, Kenya, Israel, Ethiopia, Somalia, Afghanistan and Pakistan to have evidence of taking Oral Polio Vaccine at least, six weeks prior to entry to India."

The advice is binding on all members of the World Health Assembly which Nigeria is a member.

The minister said: "Polio is one of our challenges. This year, for so many reasons, we are not happy. But we have strengthened the system. We should begin to see rapid drop. I don't see the reasons why Nigeria should be taking samples to Senegal. We need to establish at least seven more labs in the country."

Speaking earlier, the WHO country representative in Nigeria Rvi Gama Vaz said WHO was in Nigeria "to assist in identifying the health challenges towards improving the Millennium Development Goals."

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