By Ikechukwu Okaforadi
The Senate has called on government at the federal and state levels, as well as relevant Ministries and Agencies to sustain the immunization of infants and children in the country.
The call was made against the backdrop of a motion considered to commemorate the declaration of Nigeria as a polio virus free nation by the World Health Organization (WHO) on Thursday, 11th June, 2020.
The upper chamber while congratulating the Federal Government for the feat, urged the Federal Ministry of Health to adopt guidelines and other measures to prevent the transmission of polio into Nigeria by foreign tourists or Nigerian travelers.
Sponsor of the motion, Senator Chukwuka Utazi (PDP – Enugu North) said, “the attainment of polio virus free status by Nigeria is historic and remarkable not only to Nigeria, but for the entire continent of Africa considering the contagious nature of the virus.
“This achievement also serves as a major boost to the realization of the goal of eradicating polio globally for good”
According to the lawmaker, “since 1998 when the World Health Organization first declared the polio virus a disease of international concern that must be eradicated by the year 2000, more than 350,000 children were reportedly paralyzed on account of the virus in more than 125 countries. As recent as 2012, Nigeria accounted for more than half of the reported cases globally.”
He added that, “Nigeria in the recent past successfully contained and defeated the dreaded Ebola virus and also moved on to contain the spread of Lassa fever and monkey pox.
“However, the recent declaration of Nigeria as a polio free nation calls for special tribute to health workers, health administrators and other stakeholders and further action such as immunization to forestall a reversal of this success”, Utazi said.