As the world marks the world polio day, stakeholders in Adamawa State have called for more vigilance, surveillance and immunization to keep the dreadedvirus at abeyance.
Speaking at a sensitization rally organised by Adamawa State Primary Healthcare Development Agency, (ASPHCDA) funded by UNICEF, the stakeholders noted that despite the declaration of Nigeria and Africa as polio virus free, it is not yet Uhuru as the virus can stage a resurgence since it was not eradicated across the globe.
Leading the advocacy, the executive chairman of Adamawa State Primary Healthcare Development Agency, Dr. Sulaiman Saidu Bashir said world polio day is significant because it gives all stakeholders the latitude to remind themselves of the havoc being caused by the disease.
” World polio day is a very important day. It gives us opportunity to remind ourselves increased awareness about what polio is, and how dreaded it is, how it can kill or it creates permanent disability. And it also gives us opportunity to also appreciate the efforts, the role played by almost each and everyone here present,” he said.
He noted that despite declaration of Nigeria and Africa as polio virus free, a lot needs to be done to prevent the disease from coming back as it is still active in some parts of the world.
Bashir called on the media to intensify efforts in propagating the positive message of surveillance, immunization and vigilance as the only panacea from keeping the disease at bay permanently.
“So this day is very important to remind us of of the role that we can play to kick polio out of Nigeria that is to vaccinate our children and to ensure increased surveillance and to do all things expected of us to remain polio free and to have a world free of polio,” he added.
Also commenting, Dr. Attahiru Mohammed Bello, director immunization ASPHCDA said this world polio day is different from other years because it is being celebrated few months after the African region was declared polio virus free.
” I consider it singular honour to celebrate world polio day. The celebration of this year is different from other years, because just two months ago, the African regional certification commission declared Nigeria wild polio virus free. But yet, the fight is not over, until it is over.
” The fight against polio has been tortuous and tedious and demanding. Since the colonial era. But we have won the battle and we got certification and I’m proud that this generation did it,” he said.
Also commenting, Adamawa State coordinator of World Health Organization, (WHO), Iyobosa Igbinovia noted with ecstasy the uniqueness of this year’s world polio day as it marks a watershed in the annals of the fight against polio following the certification of Nigeria and Africa as polio free.
He noted with regret that unless more surveillance, vigilance and immunization is carried out, the success story could be truncated as presently two countries, namely, Afghanistan and Pakistan are still grappling with the dreaded virus.
Igbinovia congratulates Adamawa State for keeping the virus out of the state for 11 years noting that such feat by every measure was unprecedented.
Also speaking, the chairman of Yola north local government of Adamawa State, Uba Bappa said his administration will remain committed to the fight against the virus.
The chairman who was represented by his vice, Hon Paul Buba noted that Yola North local government will continue to partner relevant stakeholders and development partners to ensure the fight to keep the virus permanently at bay remains sacrosanct.
He called on the people to continue to immunize their children and also maintain high level of surveillance adding that such actions will surely serve as checks against the resurgence of the virus.
Also commenting, Adamawa State vice chairman of people living with disability, John Anthony, thanked the organizers of the event noting that with such gesture, the next generation will be defended against the incursion of the polio virus.
He promised to ensure spreading of the positive message for increased surveillance and immunization as that is the only sure way to prevent the disease from coming back.
Also speaking, Rukayyatu Abdullahi, the state chairperson mama to mama congratulated Nigeria for the wild polio virus free status.
She said despite the feat, she and her team are not resting on their oars to ensure that more surveillance and immunization is carried out to ensure the state and by extension Nigeria remain polio virus free.