The Anambra State Government has announced plans to vaccinate over 2.6 million children aged 0-59 months against polio. Dr Afam Obidike, the state’s Commissioner for Health, revealed this during the vaccination campaign’s launch in Awka.
The initiative collaborates with the Anambra State Primary Health Care Development Agency, UNICEF, and the World Health Organisation.
The move comes in response to a detected case of a circulating variant of poliovirus type-2 in a child in Nkanu West, Enugu State. Although no cases have been reported in Anambra, the state aims to increase vaccination to prevent the virus from spreading.
The campaign will cover all local government areas from September 16 to September 19.
The Anambra State Government’s proactive approach to vaccinating over 2.6 million children against polio is a commendable step in public health. However, this initiative also highlights the persistent challenges in eradicating polio, especially in developing countries.
Detecting a new polio variant in a neighbouring state underscores the need for constant vigilance and robust vaccination programs.
The government’s collaboration with international organisations like UNICEF and WHO is crucial for the campaign’s success. Such partnerships can provide technical and financial support to ensure vaccination reaches every child.
The state must also focus on public awareness to counter vaccine hesitancy among parents.
Moreover, the short duration of the vaccination campaign raises questions about its effectiveness. Will four days be enough to vaccinate 2.6 million children?
The government must ensure that the campaign is not just a one-off event but part of a sustained effort to eradicate polio.
Did You Know?
- Polio is a highly infectious disease caused by a virus mainly affecting children under five.
- Nigeria was declared polio-free by the World Health Organization in August 2020.
- UNICEF procures more than 2 billion doses of vaccines annually for immunisation programs worldwide.
- Anambra State is located in the southeastern region of Nigeria and has approximately 5.5 million people.
- The Global Polio Eradication Initiative aims to ensure that no child will ever again be paralysed by any poliovirus anywhere.