The Federal Government has disclosed that it has put measures in place to safeguard the country against importation of the Wild Polio Virus (WPV), following its outbreak in Malawi.
Executive Director, National Primary Health Care Development Agency (NPHCDA), Dr. Faisal Shuaib made the disclosure in a press statement issued on Friday, February 25, 2022.
TheFact Nigeria gathered that there had been reports of Vaccine Derived Polio Virus in the country, due to disruption of immunisation programs by the Covid-19 pandemic.
Dr. Shuaib said as part of efforts to forestall the outbreak of WPV in Nigeria, the government has reactivated and reconstituted the Expert Review Committee on Polio Eradication and Routine Immunization (ERC).
He explained that the ERC provides expert advice and guidance on strategies and approaches for polio eradication and routine immunization.
He added that the committee would meet periodically to review the country’s polio eradication and routine immunisation programmes taking into consideration population-based and laboratory studies, programmatic approaches, cost information, and other issues so as to provide a holistic and practical advice to the country.
The NPHCDA Boss noted that the ERC’s expert advice contributed immensely to the country’s achievement of WPV-free status in August 2020.
He therefore said it has become imperative to reactivate the committee following the recent outbreak of WPV in Malawi and the outbreaks of circulating variant of polio virus type 2 (cVPV2) in Nigeria.
According to Dr. Shuaib, the ERC is expected to work with NPHCDA to come up with multistakeholder plans to strengthen surveillance, build population immunity, mitigate against and control all forms of polio viruses.
He said the reconstituted 12-member expert committee chaired by a public health expert, Prof. Akin Osibogun has members drawn from the academia, the media, donors and development partners including WHO, CDC and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation (BMGF).
Members include Prof. Dorothy Esangbedo, Prof. Shuaib Bello, Prof. Clara Ejembi, Prof. Sade Ogunsola, Prof. B.S.C. Uzochukwu, Prof. Ilayisu Zubairu, Dr. Muhammad Dallatu, Mr Mannir Dan Ali, Dr. Steve Cochi (CDC), Mr Aidan O’Leary (WHO) and Jay Wenger (BMGF).
The reconstituted ERC have a renewable tenure of two years and will be inaugurated at a date to be announced soon.