Global body alerts on polio spread from Nigeria
THE global community has expressed fresh concern over the possibility of the polio virus moving from Nigeria to other neighbouring countries if Nigeria does not stop the transmission of the virus this year.
Of particular concern is the case recorded in Niger Republic last November, which was said to have originated in Nigeria. Pakistan, Nigeria and Afghanistan are recorded as the three countries that are yet to interrupt the transmission of the virus.
Meanwhile, President Goodluck Jonathan is to lead the campaign against maternal and children deaths at the on-going African Union (AU) Summit in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.
The President accepted a request from the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) to assist in mobilising other African Heads of State and Government to give fresh impetus to the campaign for the Accelerated Reduction of Maternal Mortality in Africa (CARMMA).
A letter to the Director General of the World Health Organisation (WHO) by the Independent Monitoring Board of the Global Polio Eradication Initiative and obtained by The Guardian Sunday, stressed why, in addition to interrupting the spread of the virus, more concerted efforts should be made to ensure that countries that border the three countries don’t import the virus.
The letter noted: “On November 15, 2012, a young boy in the Tahoua region of Niger was paralysed by a polio virus that originated in Nigeria. For this boy and his family, this is a tragedy. For the global effort, such cross-border spread is a warning of the inevitable consequence if polio transmission in Nigeria (and elsewhere) is not brought under control, as we have repeatedly stressed in our reports. The programme has a strong track record in stopping such outbreaks, but they have all too real a human cost and they sap energy. The genetic analysis of the Niger virus should cause the programme to reflect deeply on how and why it arose.