The World Health Organisation (WHO) Coordinator in Cross River, Dr
Thompson Igbu, says Nigeria would be polio free by August 2018. Dr
Igbu made this known to the Newsmen on the sidelines of a workshop on
integrated disease surveillance and response on Wednesday in Calabar.
“Nigeria would have been 24 months free of indigenous polio virus in
the country, if no case was reported. “Nigeria is doing very well in
the fight against poliomyelitis in the country,” he said. The expert
noted that polio reporting system was very strong in Nigeria and the
last polio case that was recorded in the country was in August 2016.
According to him, WHO had trained community personnel that quickly
report any condition that looked like polio or any of the diseases on
Federal Government watch list to the appropriate bodies. “We have
trained several community members called community informants, whom
once they see anything that looks like polio, they quickly report to
the nearest health centre. “The health centre reports to the local
government, the local government reports to the state and the state to
the national level. “I am confident that we have done well in trying
to eradicate polio,’’ he said. He however underscored the need to
improve access to information to focal persons who are stationed at
different health facilities. “This would help the federal government
and WHO know the rate of frequency of a particular disease in a
community and prevent its spread,” he said. Igbu added that similar
surveillance programmes were carried out around the Internally
Displaced Persons camps in the state. “We have a programme we call the
Enhancement of Our Immunity and Surveillance System amongst the
refugees from Cameroon. “This project is important because we need to
be sure that our brothers coming from Cameroon do not have the polio
virus. “We have enumerated the refugee children from Cameroon. “We now
know which household or community they reside with a view to
continuously provide them with preventive and curative medicine,” he
said. The WHO state coordinator urged Nigerians to maintain a clean
environment and report anything they suspect to be a disease,
especially diseases like Polio, Ebola, Lassa fever and monkey pox.
Similarly, the Chairman, Hospital Seminar Committee of the Teaching
Hospital, Calabar, Dr Angela Eyo-Etta, said the seminar was designed
to scale up surveillance for data collection and action. “Information
is key to the action you take, if you take action without information,
you are likely to take the wrong action,” she said. She said that
Nigeria has a health management information system but this system
targets the primary health care, the form provided cannot be used by
secondary and tertiary health care providers

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