The Minister of Health, Prof. Isaac Adewole has informed global leaders of Nigeria’s response to the outbreak of the 4 cases of Wild Polio Virus (WPV) in areas affected by the Boko Haram insurgency last year. The Minister announced that Nigeria is yet to record any new case in over 270 days, since August 21st 2016.
Adewole, who delivered an address on behalf of Nigeria at the 70th World Health Assembly at the United Nations building in Geneva, explained that the country immediately declared the polio outbreak a national public health emergency. In his words, “In curtailing the spread of WPV1 across our borders, there has been a robust international outbreak response and enhanced surveillance activities which include high level coordination with countries of the Lake Chad Region, implementation of high quality rounds and vaccination of high risk populations during in-between rounds activities and re-activation of RI services in newly liberated areas”
The Minister acknowledging the Nigerian Military, noted, “through innovative collaboration with the Military, we gained access to fragile secured territories.”
The Minister assured that the current momentum will be sustained for as long as it takes to be certified polio free and beyond.
Adewole, in his remarks also discussed Nigeria’s progress towards achieving Universal Health Coverage, he said that the agenda would be driven by the one Primary Healthcare Center (PHC) per ward programme of the Muhammadu Buhari administration. To this end, he said that the country had begun the operationalization of the National Health Act which specifies that “all Nigerians shall be entitled to a Basic Minimum Package of Health Services.”
The Minister also discussed the country’s Anti-Microbial Resistance (AMR) efforts, Accelerated TB Case Finding and ongoing Humanitarian response in the Northeast of Nigeria.
Professor Adewole appreciated the outgoing World Health Organisation President, Dr. Margaret Chan for her support for Africa in troubled times.
The outgoing president, Dr. Chan, thanked the health ministers and international partners for their support during her tenure. She charged them to continue to put the people first. “Behind every number is a person who defines our common humanity and deserves our compassion, especially when suffering or premature death can be prevented,” she said.