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Private medical practitioners renew war against polio

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  • Vow to join government, partners to defeat scourge

The Association of General and Private Medical Practitioners of Nigeria (AGPMN) has renewed its battle against killer disease, poliomyelitis.

Speaking with select journalists in Abuja on Tuesday, President of the association, Dr Frank Odafen, said at a media briefing to commemorate 2017 World Polio Day that as the nation won the war against small pox and similar diseases, so would polio be a history in the country.

Odafen said AGPMN would work hand in hand with Federal Government and other partners to do all it requires to end the polio scourge.

Nigeria would have earned polio-free certification last July if it had maintained its non-endemic status granted it by the World Health Organization, WHO.

After maintaining a year without the disease in 2015, WHO delisted Nigeria from the three world polio endemic nations.

It soon returned to that group as some cases of the disease were recorded in Borno State, where insurgents have carried out horrible attacks in past years, preventing health workers from accessing children for vaccination against the scourge.

At his briefing on Tuesday, Odafen, whose association joined management of Primary Health Centre, Area 2, Abuja, to vaccinate children below the age of five at the facility said the World Polio Day is a day “set aside by the World Health Assembly to bring advocacy and awareness on the existence of poliomyelitis in different parts of the world and to eliminate poliomyelitis in any facet and in any form it may exist in any part of the planet earth. The World Health Assembly sponsored by WHO resolved that like small pox was wiped out of the surface of the earth, polio which is a deadly disease that ravages the health of children which results in suffering, infirmity and disability to children should be wiped out from the surface of the earth.

“As at that time, Nigeria had over 3,000 cases of polio per annum, but with the concerted efforts of the Federal Government, together with donor agencies like Rotary International, UNICEF, Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and other health bodies; the country has been in the fight of the deadly disease through sensitization and immunization with regular surveillance so that poliomyelitis will no longer be experienced in Nigeria and is it is in the whole world.

“As of today, we are glad to say in all the continents of the world, poliomyelitis has been wiped out virtually and it only exists in three countries of the world namely, Afghanistan, Pakistan and unfortunately our dear country Nigeria. That is why we members of the Association of General and Private Medical Practitioners of Nigeria (AGPMN) have resolved that we must integrate and cooperate with government in ensuring that this disease is removed and destroyed forever from our great country Nigeria.

“Today, members of the Association of General and Private Medical Practitioners of Nigeria (AGPMN) are all over the country in all the nooks and crannies, helping in surveillance and immunization of children, and we believe that as it has happened in other countries, Nigeria will soon become polio free.

“As at 2014 and 2015, there were no reported cases of polio, but in 2016 August, three cases were reported in the northeast in the local governments of Monguno and Gwarzo. The reason can be attributed to the security challenges in the region. And the effort of the FG is commended in freeing that area from Boko Haram captivity to avoid further spread.

“We are resolving today that the battle against polio from Nigeria will be won, and anything less than 100% will not be acceptable. We are prepared and ready to employ and deploy our resources and skills in helping Federal Government to wipe out polio so that as it was spoken of small box, so will it be spoken of polio that it has been completely and irrevocably wiped out of the surface of the earth.”

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