The National Primary Health Care Development Agency (NPHCDA) has debunked the news of an outbreak of wild polio virus in some states of the nation.
Executive Director, NPHCDA, Dr. Faisal Shuaib made the clarification in a press statement on Thursday, January 13, 2022.
TheFact Nigeria recalls that the World Health Organisation (WHO) had certified Nigeria Wild Polio Virus (WPV) free on August 25, 2020.
Shuaib reiterated that the country had not recorded any case of WPV in the last five years:
“For avoidance of doubt, no case of Wild Polio Virus (WPV) has been reported anywhere in the country since the last case in 2016. We currently have 395 cases of Circulating Mutant Poliovirus Type 2 (cMPV2) across 27 states and the FCT.
“Nigeria and the African region were certified Wild Polio Virus (WPV) free in 2020, following a rigorous verification and certification process by the African Regional Commission for the Certification of Poliomyelitis Eradication (ARCC) which spanned three years of no detection of WPV. Till date, there has been no case of WPV anywhere in the country”, he explained.
The NPHCDA Boss further explained that cMPV2 outbreaks were caused by immunity gaps in children due to several reasons, including low routine immunization coverage, and missing children during immunization campaigns.
He added that the suspension of several polio campaigns and other health programmes in 2020, as well as disruptions to routine immunization because of the COVID-19 pandemic, created further immunity gaps which led to new and wider outbreaks, and further increased transmission of the circulating mutant poliovirus both globally and within Nigeria.
Furthermore, Shuaib said that the viruses thrive in areas with poor sanitation, open defecation, and inadequate access to clean drinking water.
Consequently, the aforementioned factors allowed the virus to be easily transmitted from one person to another through contaminated water and poor sewage disposal. Malnutrition occasioned by increasing poverty also predisposes exposed children to the disease.
He stated that the non-wild polio viruses which originated because of normal changes in the reproduction of viruses in the environment are not as virulent as WPV and are also being reported in many other countries.
Shuaib therefore assured Nigerians that the NPHCDA and Partners would continue to conduct surveillance and vaccination campaigns to prevent and contain any possible importation of the Wild Polio Virus into the country.