25
Sun, Jun


Polio Eradication

polio

Prior to 2009, efforts to wage a sustained and concerted fight against the scourge of Polio failed to achieve the desired results. At the time, studies by experts revealed that only Nigerian Children were still exposed to all three types of Poliovirus that could cause life-long paralysis and more Nigerian children were paralysed from Polio than in any other country in the world. In the Northern parts of the country especially, there was widespread suspicion of the polio vaccines and efforts to reassure the people proved largely abortive. The NGF recognized that this state of affairs was indicative of a failing primary health care system and that the achievement of Polio eradication would require strong leadership from the State and Local Government Area (LGA) administrations as well as strategic guidance from the State Health officials.

polio2During this time also, Bill Gates of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation as part of his effort to help rid the world of Polio had spent vast resources to this end, working with Federal Agencies without any tangible results. He then realized that any successful attempt to purge the country of this dreaded scourge must of necessity involve the co-operation of the 36 State Governors.

Consequently, in February 2009, Bill Gates enlisted the support and cooperation of the NGF to wage a combined war against Polio culminating in a set of resolutions reached on 2nd February, 2009 and known as the Abuja Commitments to Polio Eradication in Nigeria. The Governors under the aegis of the NGF committed themselves to:

  1. Providing active leadership of Polio eradication activities (including routine immunization) and primary health care in general, in the State and directing LGA Chairmen to ensure that all children under 5 years are reached and vaccinated during any polio eradication activity in the State;
  2. Improving the operational quality at the LGA in our States by chairing quarterly meetings with all the LGA Chairmen to closely review the planning, implementation and results of polio eradication activities, routine immunization/primary healthcare and identifying remedies for poor-performing LGAs;
  3. Allocating additional financial and human resources to strengthen Primary Health Care so that it can sustain routine immunization services and improve implementation of campaigns (Immunisation Plus Days) in the State;
  4. Reporting back to the President through NEC on a quarterly basis on the status of Polio eradication efforts including routine immunization, in the State;
  5. Improving Primary Health care as a more holistic plan to addressing the issue of immunization through community health insurance schemes.

To further underscore the resolve of the governors to stamp out Polio from the country, polio3the NGF set aside August 8, 2009 as a day to mark and re-invigorate the fight against Polio in Nigeria. The NGF recognized that this would serve to reinforce the commitment of the governors as well as re-emphasize the political will to fight Polio.

The NGF activities towards this effort included:

  1. Appointment of Deputy Governors to serve as chairmen of State Task Force on Polio to manage the day-to-day running of polio activities across the state and report back to the Governors
  2. Prioritizing polio eradication by instituting polio as a permanent agenda item on monthly meetings of the Forum
  3. Waging sensitization campaigns and activities geared towards getting the full cooperation of the people in the local communities, whose resistance to the polio vaccines was well known.
  4. Direct engagement of representatives from the ward level, religious and traditional leaders as well as the civil society.
  5. Involving private advertising/public relations firms to implement awareness campaigns with particular heed paid to the peculiar customs and traditions of various target communities.
  6. Quarterly sensitization campaigns led by Governors to create greater awareness among the citizens. g. Polio Task Force set up under the direct supervision of the Deputy Governor who will in turn report to the Governors.

 

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polio

Prior to 2009, efforts to wage a sustained and concerted fight against the scourge of Polio failed to achieve the desired results. At the time, studies by experts revealed that only Nigerian Children were still exposed to all three types of Poliovirus that could cause life-long paralysis and more Nigerian children were paralysed from Polio than in any other country in the world. In the Northern parts of the country especially, there was widespread suspicion of the polio vaccines and efforts to reassure the people proved largely abortive. The NGF recognized that this state of affairs was indicative of a failing primary health care system and that the achievement of Polio eradication would require strong leadership from the State and Local Government Area (LGA) administrations as well as strategic guidance from the State Health officials.

polio2During this time also, Bill Gates of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation as part of his effort to help rid the world of Polio had spent vast resources to this end, working with Federal Agencies without any tangible results. He then realized that any successful attempt to purge the country of this dreaded scourge must of necessity involve the co-operation of the 36 State Governors.

Consequently, in February 2009, Bill Gates enlisted the support and cooperation of the NGF to wage a combined war against Polio culminating in a set of resolutions reached on 2nd February, 2009 and known as the Abuja Commitments to Polio Eradication in Nigeria. The Governors under the aegis of the NGF committed themselves to:

  1. Providing active leadership of Polio eradication activities (including routine immunization) and primary health care in general, in the State and directing LGA Chairmen to ensure that all children under 5 years are reached and vaccinated during any polio eradication activity in the State;
  2. Improving the operational quality at the LGA in our States by chairing quarterly meetings with all the LGA Chairmen to closely review the planning, implementation and results of polio eradication activities, routine immunization/primary healthcare and identifying remedies for poor-performing LGAs;
  3. Allocating additional financial and human resources to strengthen Primary Health Care so that it can sustain routine immunization services and improve implementation of campaigns (Immunisation Plus Days) in the State;
  4. Reporting back to the President through NEC on a quarterly basis on the status of Polio eradication efforts including routine immunization, in the State;
  5. Improving Primary Health care as a more holistic plan to addressing the issue of immunization through community health insurance schemes.

To further underscore the resolve of the governors to stamp out Polio from the country, polio3the NGF set aside August 8, 2009 as a day to mark and re-invigorate the fight against Polio in Nigeria. The NGF recognized that this would serve to reinforce the commitment of the governors as well as re-emphasize the political will to fight Polio.

The NGF activities towards this effort included:

  1. Appointment of Deputy Governors to serve as chairmen of State Task Force on Polio to manage the day-to-day running of polio activities across the state and report back to the Governors
  2. Prioritizing polio eradication by instituting polio as a permanent agenda item on monthly meetings of the Forum
  3. Waging sensitization campaigns and activities geared towards getting the full cooperation of the people in the local communities, whose resistance to the polio vaccines was well known.
  4. Direct engagement of representatives from the ward level, religious and traditional leaders as well as the civil society.
  5. Involving private advertising/public relations firms to implement awareness campaigns with particular heed paid to the peculiar customs and traditions of various target communities.
  6. Quarterly sensitization campaigns led by Governors to create greater awareness among the citizens. g. Polio Task Force set up under the direct supervision of the Deputy Governor who will in turn report to the Governors.

 

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