The United Nations Children Fund (UNICEF) has warned that the Wild Polio Virus (WPV), which Nigeria has successfully eradicated, may resurface if preventive measures are not taken.
UNICEF Communication for Development Specialist, Elizabeth Onitolo, made this known during the opening of a three-day media dialogue in Yola, Adamawa State, on Tuesday.
The dialogue tagged “Routine immunisation; Post-polio certification and COVID-19 vaccination” is organised by UNICEF in conjunction with the Child Rights Information Bureau (CRIB) of the Federal Ministry of Information and Culture.
Recall Nigeria and the rest of Africa were formally certified free of the Wild Polio Virus on August 25, 2020, by the World Health Organisation (WHO) after no case of the virus was detected on the continent for three years.
Nigeria is the last African country to eliminate the virus which can be prevented with adequate vaccination. Eight years ago, Nigeria accounted for half of the world’s polio cases.
The poliovirus, which causes paralysis by attacking the nervous system, is spread from person to person mostly through contaminated water.
Mrs Onitolo, however, said the recorded success is still fragile due to low immunisation coverage which has been worsened by the COVID-19 pandemic ravaging the world.
She said the emergence of the COVID-19 virus has negatively affected Routine Immunisation (RI) and further put many children at risk of preventable diseases.