By Tobias Lengnan Dapam
Fourteen days into a month long campaign to call attention on immunization, Civil Society Organisations (CSO) across Africa join global efforts to call for continued vigilance to Polio, routine immunization programs and stronger health systems.
The CSOs in a statement issued yesterday to mark World Polio Day, said “the year 2017 has seen the lowest case count of polio in recorded history, but the job is not done yet.
“Polio cases have been reduced by 99.9% worldwide since 1988. Fewer than 40 cases worldwide were reported for all of 2016, thanks to the 10 billion doses of oral polio vaccine that have been administered since 2000.
“We cannot rest until polio transmission is interrupted and there are zero cases for at least three consecutive years,” the Deputy Director at Community Health and Research Initiative in Nigeria, Salisu Musa Muhammad said.
He added that they have been actively calling the attention of the government performance on budgeting in immunization. “One of three countries still endemic for polio. The countries are; Nigeria, Afghanistan and Pakistan.”
Although he said Nigeria has not reported any cases of polio since the August 2016 outbreak, “it is possible that the poliovirus is continuing to spread undetected in the Lake Chad region given ongoing inaccessibility, surveillance gaps and a fluid security situation. To stop the outbreak and respond to the ongoing risk in the area, Nigeria and neighboring countries have implemented large-scale vaccination campaigns.
“Global and national efforts to eradicate polio have been significant and sustained. This is why we are so close,” said Boubacar Sylla, coordinator of the civil society platform POSSAV in Guinea.