FG To Safeguard Against Polio Virus Outbreak

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Polio vaccination
A health worker administering vaccine to children.

As a sequel to the recent outbreak of the Wild Polio Virus (WPV) in Malawi, the Federal Government of Nigeria has put measures in place to safeguard the country against the importation of the virus.

A statement signed by the executive director, National Primary Healthcare Development Agency (NPHCDA), Dr. Faisal Shuaib, said one of such measures is the reactivation and reconstitution of the Expert Review Committee on Polio Eradication and Routine Immunization (ERC). 

It said the ERC provides expert advice and guidance on strategies and approaches for polio eradication and routine immunisation. The committee meets periodically to review the country’s polio eradication and routine immunisation programmes, taking into consideration population-based and laboratory studies, programmatic approaches, cost information and other issues, to provide holistic and practical advice to the country.

“The ERC’s expert advice contributed immensely to the country’s achievement of WPV-free status in August 2020. Consequently, it has become imperative to reactivate the committee following the recent outbreak of WPV in Malawi and the outbreaks of circulating variants of the polio virus type 2 (cVPV2) in Nigeria. The ERC is expected to work with the National Primary Healthcare Development Agency to come up with multi-stakeholder plans to strengthen surveillance, build population immunity, mitigate against and control all forms of polioviruses,” it added.

The statement further said the reconstituted 12-member expert committee chaired by a public health expert, Prof. Akin Osibogun, has members drawn from the academia, the media, donors and development partners – including WHO, CDC, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Prof. Dorothy Esangbedo, Prof. Shuaib Bello, Prof. Clara Ejembi, Prof.  Sade Ogunsola, Prof. B.S.C. Uzochukwu, Prof. Ilayisu Zubairu, Dr. Muhammad Dallatu, Mr. Mannir Dan Ali, Dr. Steve Cochi (CDC), Mr. Aidan O’Leary (WHO) and Jay Wenger (BMGF).  

The reconstituted ERC has a renewable tenure of two years and will be inaugurated at a date to be announced soon.

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