By Tobias Lengnan Dapam
The Africa Regional Certification Commission (ARCC) for poliomyelitis eradication has commenced a two-week visit to Nigeria on 09 December 2019.
The Commission is in the country to conduct critical analysis and verify the accuracy of the certification documents prepared by the Nigerian government.
The World Health Organisation (WHO) made this known in a statement issued yesterday, said the independent commission has already accepted the documentation of 43 African countries as part of the process to certify the African Region free from all types of wild poliovirus, with only Cameroon, Central African Republic, Nigeria and South Sudan remaining.
According to the statement, no wild poliovirus has been detected anywhere in Africa since 2016, noting that the last wild poliovirus-caused paralysis was detected on 21 August 2016 in Nigeria, while the last environment sample with traces of the wild poliovirus was detected in Kaduna State from a sewage sample collected on 5 May 2014. “The ARCC has invited Nigeria to present its final documentation to receive a wild polio-free status in June 2020.
Also, the ARCC has planned two field verification visits. The first is to the Southern States from 9 to 20 December 2019 and the second is to the Northern States, from 2 to 13 March 2020,” said Dr Faisal Shuaib, executive director of National Primary Health Care Development Agency (NPHCDA).
“Having achieved the milestones of primary requirements, the ARCC will first review the complete documentation report of the interruption of wild poliovirus type 1 and then proceed to conduct field verification visits to select states in the south of Nigeria,” said Dr Fiona Braka, the WHO Nigeria Team Lead, Expanded Programme on Immunization (EPI)