The World Health Organisation has advised Nigeria to continue to increase surveillance and routine immunization coverage.
Dr Richard Mihigo, WHO Regional Immunization Advisor for Africa, gave the advice in Abuja Thursday during a visit to the Area 2 Primary Healthcare Centre.
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He said doing so would protect children from the Wild Polio Virus (WPV).
Responding to questions on the recent recorded case of Wild polio virus in Malawi, he said: “For Nigeria, it is important that it continues to heighten the surveillance system and also increase coverage for routine Oral Polio Vaccine (OPV) immunization so that the new cohort of children that are born are also protected against any type of imported case that may happen.”
Mihigo said Africa’s WPV polio-free certification status still stood as laboratory analysis so far revealed that the case in Malawi was an imported case and not from an indigenous virus.
He said before now the last case recorded in Malawi was in 1992.
Dr Kate O’Brien, Director, Immunization, Vaccines and Biologicals, WHO Headquarters, commended Nigeria for its COVID-19 vaccination drive.
She said the country, however, needed increased efforts to meet the 70 percent global target of COVID-19 vaccination coverage,” she said. The Assistant Administrator for Global Health, United States Agency for International Development, Dr Atul Gawande, said USAID had provided vaccines in Nigeria and on Wednesday announced an additional $33m to support vaccination. He said this included supporting the government to provide messaging, jingles and other communication around vaccination, fighting misinformation and supporting health workers to ensure access to vaccination for people at PHCs and closer to their homes where they missed accessing it at PHCs.
Dr Nneka Onwu, Director, Primary Healthcare System, National Primary Healthcare Development Agency, said a challenge of vaccination in the country was power supply for PHCs.