354 days after defeating polio, Nigeria records 12 vaccine-derived cases –UNICEF – Punch Newspapers

[ad_1]

Just 354 days after being declared polio-free, the United Nations Children’s Fund, on Saturday, confirmed that cases of vaccine-derived poliovirus were recorded in 12 Nigerian states, saying it was supporting the country by procuring vaccines.

The World Health Organisation Independent Africa Regional Certification Commission for Polio Eradication, on August 25, 2020, officially declared Nigeria and the African region free of wild poliovirus.

But UNICEF’s Health Manager for Maiduguri Field Office, Dr Clement Adams, in an email exchange with Sunday PUNCH, stated that countries across the world, including Nigeria, were experiencing an outbreak of vaccine-derived poliovirus.

Adams said, “The current circulating poliovirus is the type 2 virus and a vaccine-derived outbreak. Currently, it is spreading and we have cases in 12 states. Please, note (that) every year, we have a number of vaccine-derived cases of polio and this is not the first time.

“This has been happening over the years and in different countries as well. It is a threat and we are conducting campaigns to contain it.”

He added that UNICEF was doing everything possible to work alongside the federal and state governments to ensure that it was effectively contained.

“It is important we ensure an integrated response to all challenges so that we will continue the response of coronavirus, cholera and polio together. It can be managed by making sure we quickly immunise all children under five years.

“Currently, we have done two rounds of campaign in Borno and one in Yobe. We have lined up campaigns till the end of year to ensure all children under five years are protected. We are encouraging all to help educate the general public about the importance of getting immunised.

“UNICEF is supporting in procuring all the vaccines, ensuring all cold chain is maintained, providing technical guidance, providing guidance on C4D and providing funds to support the campaigns.”

According to him, UNICEF has continued to ensure the availability of vaccines globally and will continue to do so in Nigeria, while strategising with GAVI and the government on ways to improve routine immunisation to effectively improve on child survival.

A professor of Medical Virology, University of Maiduguri, Marycelin Baba, told one of our correspondents that the vaccine-derived poliovirus case recorded in Adamawa State on Saturday was capable of causing paralysis like the wild poliovirus.

Baba said, “The vaccine-derived poliovirus has mutated so much and has the capacity of causing paralysis just like the wild polio because among the three stereotypes of polio, Type 2 is genetically so unstable and mutates very fast.

“It is under control right now because the Centre for Disease Control (and Prevention) has produced NOPV2 vaccine for emergency use, so with the response, vaccination of children with the NOPV2 will fill that gap.”

She noted that the case was recorded because of a vaccination gap, which had caused low immunity.

Similarly, a professor of Public Health, Tanimola Akande, stated that Nigeria remained free from wild polio, but not yet from vaccine-derived polio, saying, “The appropriate agency, the National Primary Health Care Development Agency, and its international partners should timely respond as this kind of virus is reported.”

Another professor of Public Health, Clara Ejembi, warned that the vaccine-derived polio could degenerate if not quickly addressed as “viruses change.”

Ejembi said, “The first strategy for polio eradication is to have a strong immunisation programme such that 80 per cent of children are immunised as and when due. Viruses change, this is called mutation.

“This is why we need to ramp up our immunisation. The NPHCDA should mount an outbreak response and go on immunisation campaigns, in addition give the inactivated polio vaccine. This is used in outbreak response.”

In the same vein, the Chairman of the Nigeria National PolioPlus Committee of Rotary International, Dr Tunji Funsho, told one of our correspondents that there was no cause for alarm regarding the country’s polio-free status.

He said, “No, there is no new case of polio. Nigeria remains polio-free. We have had a few cases in a few other (polio-free) countries, such as Cote d’Ivoire, but after about six months, we don’t have it there anymore.

“We had it in the Philippines, which had been polio-free for 28 years. We put a lid on that as well, so it is not a threat. In the last nine months, we’ve had it in Abia, Bayelsa, and Jigawa states.”

According to him, cases of vaccine-derived polio are the result of unsanitary environments where children are unimmunised.

Copyright PUNCH.

All rights reserved. This material, and other digital content on this website, may not be reproduced, published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed in whole or in part without prior express written permission from PUNCH.

Contact: [email protected]

[ad_2]

Facebook Comments

Be the first to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.


*