Gov. AbdulRazaq AbdulRahman of Kwara says the state has achieved and sustained its polio-free status for the past five months across the 16 local government areas.
AbdulRahman, who was represented by his Deputy, Mr Kayode Alabi, disclosed this on Thursday in Ilorin, during the flag-off of the February Round of the National Immunization Plus Days.
He lamented that the state had a recurrent outbreak of the circulating Vaccine Derived Polio (cVDPV) during the last administration.
“The situation was so bad that Kwara was ranked with the highest number of the virus isolated both from human and environmental samples.
“This is as a result of years of neglect, poor funding and donor dependence of the state in the implementation of immunisation and primary healthcare programmes,” he said.
The governor stated that his administration took ownership and funding of the immunisation programme which, he said, has interrupted the transmission of the virus in the state.
According to him, the flag-off of the 2020 NIPDs expanded programme on immunisation in Nigeria has achieved some growth in service coverage in the last few years with huge investment by government and development partner agencies.
He added that the 2015 and 2016 Multi Indicators Cluster and National Immunisation Coverage Surveys showed that Pentavalent 3 Vaccine coverage was 33 per cent and full immunisation coverage was 23 per cent.
According to him, this implies that about 60 per cent of eligible children are not appropriately immunised with all life saving vaccines.
“This coverage is inadequate to provide protection from vaccine preventable diseases,” he said.
The governor noted that the state will continue to meet the standard of requirements for quality polio campaign and strengthening of routine immunisation service delivery.
AbdulRazaq therefore urged mothers, religious bodies, schools, care givers and community leaders across the state to make all children between ages of zero and five years available for the NIPDs commencing on Feb. 15.
The state Commissioner for Health, Dr Raji Razaq, represented by the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry, Mr Iliyasu Idris, described immunisation as the most important public health intervention known to man.
He said that vaccination has prevented the spread of diseases and deaths all over the world.
Razaq said that Nigeria is now set to join the league of polio free societies as no case have been reported, since the last case of Wild Polio Virus three years ago.
Earlier, Dr Abimbola Folorunso, the Executive Secretary, Kwara Primary Health Care Development Agency, observed that since August 2019, no case of the polio virus has been recorded in the state.
Folorunso said that the state is now a model for replication in the fight against polio, while urging the state government not to relent in its efforts to develop the health sector.