Minister of Health, Prof. Isaac Adewole, on Thursday confirmed an outbreak of wild polio virus in Borno State after Nigeria had been polio free for about two years.
Oyewole said the outbreak had affected two children from Gwoza and Jere Local Government Areas of the State.
He said: “Our overriding priority right now is to rapidly boost immunity in the affected areas to ensure that no more children are affected by this terrible disease.”
The Minister has, therefore, directed the deployment of an national emergency response team comprising government and partners to Borno State for immediate and robust polio vaccination campaign, targeting eligible children to prevent the spread of the virus locally and internationally.
“The Federal Ministry of Health through the National Primary Healthcare Development Agency with the support of partners, including WHO and UNICEF, are conducting detailed risk analysis to clearly ascertain the extent of circulation of the virus and to assess overall levels of population immunity in order to guide the response.
“An an immediate response, about one million children are to be immunized in four local government areas in Borno State.
“Children in adjoining states of Yobe, Adamawa and Gombe will also be immunized, bringing the number to about five million in the four states”, he stated.
Prof. Adewole reiterated the Federal Government’s commitment to achieving a polio-free Nigeria and assuresd the general public that this outbreak will be controlled as soon as possible, adding that government will provide the needed resources to contain it.
He, therefore, called on other states and local governments to redouble their efforts by safeguarding their territories from importation of the virus by providing the required leadership and ensuring accountability among healthcare workers and other stakeholders.