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Why polio is spreading after Nigeria was declared free – UNICEF

The United Nations International Children’s Emergency Fund (UNICEF) has said polio has returned to Nigeria and is spreading to many states after the country was…

The United Nations International Children’s Emergency Fund (UNICEF) has said polio has returned to Nigeria and is spreading to many states after the country was declared polio-free in 2020.

It blamed the development on low vaccination rate especially in some northern states and the refusal of some parents to allow their children to be vaccinated.

It said this during an orientation programme organised by UNICEF, the Nigeria Guild of Editors (NGE) and the Diamond Award for Media Excellence (DAME) yesterday in Lagos.

This is just as the two media organisations have signed a memorandum of understanding with UNICEF to support the work of the United Nations agency and promote children’s welfare in Nigeria.

UNICEF’s Representative in Nigeria Cristian Munduate and two other officials – Dorothy Ochola-Odongo and Prosper Dakurali – painted the alarming rate of polio and malnutrition cases in Nigeria.

On the polio, it would be recalled that Nigeria, the last country in Africa to be affected, was declared polio-free on August 25, 2020, by The Africa Regional Certification Commission.

However, after the certification, the country started to report cases of another variant of polio virus; The Vaccine-derived poliovirus (cVDPV) which is a rare phenomenon that occurs when the weakened poliovirus in oral poliovirus vaccines (OPV) mutates and regains its ability to cause disease.

According to UNICEF, oral poliovirus vaccines (OPV) contain a weakened form of the poliovirus, adding that when a person receives OPV, the weakened virus helps their body build immunity against polio.

The cVDPV can spread to others, causing polio in people who are not fully vaccinated or have weakened immune systems.

 

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