NEW POLIO VARIANT: EBONYI STATE GOVT PARTNERS HEALTH DEVELOPMENT AGENCIES TO VACCINATE UNDER 5

REPORTER: AMECHI ODO

The World Health Organization, in collaboration with National Primary Health Care Development Agency, UNICEF and the Ebonyi State Government, has embarked on the vaccination of children between zero to five years against a circulating variant Polio Virus Type Two in the state.

During the launch of the programme at Ebiaji, the Headquarters of Ezza North Local Government Area, the State Coordinator World Health Organization, Dr. Vivian Ibeziako, said the vaccination was in response to the detection of the virus in nearby Enugu State.

About two months ago, Enugu State Primary Health Care Development Agency announced that it had detected a circulating variant Polio Virus Type 2 in a baby at Nkanu West Local Government Area of Enugu State.

The vaccination of children aged zero to five in neighbouring Ebonyi State is therefore aimed at containing the virus, which presents with weakness of the limbs, hands and legs.

The Coordinator of WHO in the state, Dr. Ibeziako said apart from polio, children aged zero to five in the state would also be vaccinated against diphtheria as well as measles.

She called for the activation of a taskforce to drive the campaign.

The State Immunization Officer, Mr. Kalu Ogbonnaya, explained that the programme was an outbreak response.

Mr. Ogbonnaya noted that while Nigeria had been certified wild polio free, the circulating variant polio virus type 2 was vaccine derived which must be stamped out.

Chairman, Association of Local Government of Nigeria (ALGON) in Ebonyi State, Chief Moses Ogodoali, said the vaccination was launched in all Council Areas simultaneously and promised to lead a taskforce to ensure that nursing mothers immunize their children against vaccine preventable diseases.

Some nursing mothers, who brought their children for symbolic vaccination, commended the government and WHO for prioritizing the health needs of their children.

EDITED BY CHUKWUBUIKE MADU

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