By Stanley Onyekwere
As part of efforts to ensure the complete eradication of polio from the Federal Capital Territory Administration (FCTA) has declared that campaign efforts will be intensified while partnership built against polio would be sustained to guide against re-infection.
This assurance was given FCT Minister, Malam Muhammad Musa Bello while addressing stakeholders at the start of Polio Week organized by Cedarcrest Polio Centre, Abuja, yesterday.
Bello said now was not the time to relent just as Nigeria was about to be declared and certified a Polio free country, stressing that failure not was not an option.
He said even though the FCT has performed quite well in the fight against polio, “we will not rest on our laurels as our campaigns will be intensified. We have come so far and fought so hard over the years, so much so that failure now is not an option.
“We intend to sustain the network of partnership we have built against polio and maintain watch against re-infection.
“While it is heartwarming to note that in just a few months, Nigeria will be declared polio free if no new cases of infection are registered, it must be mentioned that there can be no room for complacency. Nothing should be taken for granted and vigilance should be our watchword.”
Explaining that the FCT has left no stone unturned in the quest to ensure that every eligible child is immunized, the Minister added that so far, five out of the six area councils of the FCT have achieved 90 per cent coverage and for over six years, no new case of the disease has been recorded in the Territory.
He therefore called for vigilance while commending health workers for their efforts towards the attainment and maintenance of the status so far reached in the fight against polio.
Bello also commended Cedarcrest Polio Centre and its partners for efforts not only in the fight against polio in the country but also in making treatment available to people living with residual deformities after suffering from the disease.
He described polio as one of the most devastating diseases that can affect an individual, particularly, “because of its ability to cause paralysis and deformation of limbs and significantly lower the quality of lives of victims.”
Similarly, the Director, Cedarcrest Polio Centre, Dr. Felix Ogedengbe had earlier in his welcome address called for the establishment of an active referral Centre for polio patients in Nigeria, where victims can seek help and care.