Nigeria: Lagos Dismisses Allegation of Sabotage Against Polio Vaccination

24 May 2019

The Lagos State Government has clarified that no Non-governmental Organisation (NGO) was engaged in the recent vaccination against polio campaign in the state.

The state government described as untrue reports that an unidentified NGO was going round public schools to undermine the just-concluded programme by administering vaccines that could compromise the health of pupils.

According to statement by the Lagos State Primary Health Care Board (LSPHCB), the vaccination campaign was carried out by the National Primary Health Care Development Agency (NPHCDA), Lagos State Ministry of Health and LSPHCB, in partnership with the World Health Organisation (WHO), United Nations Children Fund (UNICEF), CDC-AFENET and Rotary International.

The statement signed by the Permanent Secretary, LSPHCB, Dr. Tayo Lawal, described the reports as false, untenable and a misrepresentation of the position of the government on the successful implementation of the oral polio vaccination campaign held from May 18 to 22.

According to the Lawal, the just-concluded campaign was carried out by government-funded health institutions and service organisations.

According to the permanent secretary, the administration of oral polio vaccines was the sole responsibility of health workers, trained to conduct the exercise and no NGO was directly involved in the administration of the vaccines on children as reported in the media.

The statement reads: "As a state, we laud the contributions of these development and supporting partners as well as NGOs who have over time through their various volunteering efforts helped to maintain a 'polio-free status' for the State and have continued to intensify advocacy and awareness against the childhood killer disease by putting vast resources into this noble cause."

Restating government's commitment to sustain partnership with well-meaning organisations, development partners and NGOs to kick out polio and other vaccine-preventable diseases from the state and Nigeria at large, Lawal assured that another round of polio vaccination campaigns will hold in June and July with the support of the implementation partners.

He emphasised that the polio vaccine being administered is free, safe and effective for protection of children, assuring that the administration of the vaccine is neither hazardous or dangerous to human beings as being falsely propagated.

"In fact, WHO recommends that all children below the age of five years get this vaccine for protection against polio" the statement affirmed.

Lawal urged all stakeholders, including parents, political and religious leaders, civil society organisations and administrators of schools to ensure the immunisation of pupils below five during the forthcoming polio eradication campaign.

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