Nigeria’s Minister of Health, Professor Isaac Adewole announced that the Government has successfully secured a loan from the World Bank (around the region of $125 million) to fight fresh cases of polio in Nigeria and other health challenges that have hit the country during these hard times.
The minister revealed this news while speaking with the Senate Committee regarding Communicable Diseases and Primary Health on Thursday in the Federal Capital Territory Abuja.
Professor Adewole said with the National Assembly’s approval, $60 million would be used for polio, while $65 million would go for the acquisition of vaccines. He also said that the Federal Government had released N10 billion from the 2016 budget for the fight against polio.
He expressed displeasure with the fresh outbreak and said that over N30 billion would be needed to tackle the problem, adding that due the outbreak, 800,000 children under five years of age in five local government areas in Borno State had been immunized.
The minister also said that the local government areas that have reached the one million population mark were Jere, Maiduguri Municipality, Gwoza, Mafa, and Bama.
The Professor also said that the return of polio is a major setback for the country considering the investment from the international community. He said he wasn’t expecting polio to pose a challenge at this time, and reassured members of the Senate committee that the ministry of health was working with stakeholders to see if there are more cases. Adding that the ministry had flagged the response channels and that the team monitoring the disease is working to ensure that everything goes smoothly.
According to the minister, his ministry will carry out a six-round response program to immunize children between five years of age and under in the country to make sure that every child is immunized.
He also disclosed that more than 300 million doses of the vaccine are required to successfully carry out the immunization process throughout the country and to halt the spread of polio. Although only 100 million doses were available, measures would be taken to complete the required doses.
Adding that the ministry was considering administering injectable vaccines due to its efficacy especially in Borno State, instead of solely relying on the oral vaccine.
However, the minister hinted that plans to halt the spread of the disease could change as time goes on depending on subsequent developments.
As a result of the security situation of the North-East, the minister said a medical team had been deployed from the military to assist experts working with the ministry.
On the recent cases of Lassa Fever which has reportedly claimed the life’s of 4 people including one medical doctor in Delta state, the professor said that measures have being initiated to curb the spread of the virus by the federal government.
The Chairman of the Senate Committee, Mao Ohuabunwa, insisted that the ministry should embark on sensitization and advocacy more.
He expressed disappointment with the ministry of health for not involving the National Assembly before now and promised that the committee fully backs the ministry to successfully tackle the challenges facing the health sector.
Polio is a crippling and potentially deadly contagious illness. There’s no treatment, but you can find safe and effective vaccinations. The scheme to eliminate polio is thus centered on preventing the disease by immunizing every child until transmission stops, and the planet is polio-free. Polio is a highly contagious disease and invades the nervous system causing permanent paralysis in a matter of hrs.
Who’s in danger?
Polio can strike at any age, nonetheless, it primarily affects children under five years old.
When polio enters the mouth, it multiplies in the gut. It then drops into the environment via the faeces where it propagates quickly; particularly in situations of poor hygiene and cleanliness. In case a satisfactory amount of children are fully immunized against polio, the virus struggles to locate vulnerable kids to invade, and when it doesn’t, it dies away.
Small children who are still not toilet trained are prone to transmitting, the disease. Polio may be spread when food or beverage is contaminated by faeces.
Many people infected with the polio virus have no symptoms of the disease and will never be aware they’ve been afflicted. These symptomless individuals incubate the virus inside their bowels and may “silently” spread the disease to hundreds of the others before the first instance of polio paralysis appears. That is why WHO views just one confirmed case of polio paralysis to be proof of an outbreak – especially in areas where hardly any instances happen.
Many infected people do not have any symptoms or very mild signs and generally, go unrecognized. In the others, first signs include fever, tiredness, headache, vomiting, and tightness in the throat and pain in the limbs.