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Polio: Doctors Call For More Awareness, Sustained Immunisation

In a bid to facilitate the eradication of poliomyelitis in the country, some doctors in Lagos have stressed the need for more awareness and continued immunisation of children, especially in the North.

The doctors told journalists yesterday that there was need for all hands to be on deck for a successful prevention and eradication of the disease.

According to Dr Olugbenga Owoeye, a Consultant Psychiatrist at the Federal Neuro-Psychiatric Hospital, Yaba, it is a great achievement that Nigeria has not recorded a single case of polio in the last one year.

Owoeye said that effort to prevent the return of the virus must be sustained.

“However, the way forward in sustaining it is to create awareness about the condition and educate the populace on the mode of prevention.

“There is need for continued immunisation of children and government must ensure that the vaccines are available.

`Also, NGOs, Churches, and Mosques must be involved in creating awareness as that will go a long way in the prevention of the disease,“ he said.

It would be recalled that on September 26 the World Health Organisation confirmed that polio was no longer endemic in Nigeria.

Nigeria has not reported a single case of the wild polio virus since July 24, 2014 as all laboratory data collected in the last 12 months have confirmed.

Dr Moruf Abdusalam, a Paediatrician at the Lagos State University Teaching Hospital, Ikeja, described the absence of polio in the country as a welcome development.

Abdulsalam, however, advised the Federal Government to sustain the immunisation effort especially in the North.

He said: “We hope it remains so because of the impact the disease has on the society, especially on children.

“It is a disease that causes disability, but it can be prevented; we encourage parents to immunise their children until the age of five years.

“ He also urged the government to focus on the Internally Displaced Persons’ (IDPs) camps to reduce the chances of the disease spreading among inhabitants of the camps.

“Government needs to ensure that the IDPs camps have access to health facilities so that children can be immunised,“ Abdusalam said.

A Senior Medical Officer at a health and maternity centre in Yaba, Dr Anthony Okeke, said that the eradication of polio should be a priority for the government.


– Blessing Nwafor

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