POLIO ERADICATION: LAGOS TO PARTNER W.H.O
…To Give Executive Order For Access Into Private Schools, Gated Streets
As part of efforts to eradicate polio in Lagos State, the present administration has expressed its desire to partner the World Health Organisation (WHO) Nigeria, just as it revealed that an Executive Order would soon be signed to compel operators of private primary schools in the State to grant unrestricted access to polio eradication officers who visit to administer anti-polio vaccines on students so as to protect them against the killer disease.
The Lagos State Deputy Governor, Dr. Obafemi Hamzat disclosed this today when he received in audience, the Incident Manager at the Nigerian National Emergency Operations Centre for Polio Eradication, Dr. Usman Adamu and the team leader of the WHO Immunisation Nigeria, Dr, Fiona Braka who paid him a courtesy call to reflect on the sudden outbreak of the disease around Makoko, Itire and Maracana Canals in the State and discuss urgent steps to stop the spread of the trend.
Hamzat noted that one of the six pillars of the development strategy of the present administration is Health and Environment and assured that the State government will issue the Executive Order as recommended by the delegation from World Health Organisation (WHO).
He added that the Executive Order, when issued, would also cover gated streets in every part of the State, urging all landlords and members of various Community Development Associations to join hands with the government by ensuring that street gates are open and accessible to the polio officers who administer the vaccines on children.
While pointing out that administering vaccines on pupils within the public-school community alone would not solve the problem, he urged parents and operators of private primary schools to cooperate with the State government in its efforts at eradicating polio completely.
The Deputy Governor disclosed that in order to ensure the exercise gets to the grassroots, all Chairmen of the 57 Local Governments and Local Council Development Areas would be carried along and enlightened to mobilise their communities for regular vaccination towards the eradication of the disease in all communities across the State.
In his words, “Just be assured of the State government’s commitment to this fight against polio; we are of the opinion that the health sector should get it right and we must ensure that the polio exercise agenda is achieved in the interest of our children”.
Earlier, Dr. Uthman Adamu briefed the Deputy Governor on the purpose of the visit, explaining that there was an urgent need to give an update on the status of the ongoing polio eradication and routine immunisation exercise in the State.
Dr. Adamu stated that it was worrisome that Nigeria is one of the three countries in the world that have not completely eradicated polio in spite of its consequences on the growing health of the children.
He raised the concerns on the cases of polio in Makoko, Itire and Maracana Canals, stressing that the sudden outbreak in those communities necessitated the need for the ongoing immunisation exercise to prevent a further outbreak in Lagos.
While urging the government to intensify campaigns on the enlightenment of the citizenry on the danger of polio and the need to get children of 0-5 years vaccinated against the dreadful disease, he commended the State government for setting up a special task force on polio eradication chaired by the Deputy Governor.
On her part, the team leader of the WHO Immunisation Nigeria, Dr, Fiona Braka allayed the fears on the implication of a child getting double immunisation, stressing that the vaccines are boosters and supplements.