WHO Confirms Third Polio Case In Nigeria

On 29 July, a child receives a dose of oral polio vaccine during the UNICEF-supported measles and polio immunization campaign under way in the Ifo refugee camp in North Eastern Province, near the Kenya-Somalia border. The camp for Somalia refugees is among three that comprise the Dadaab camps, located near the town of Dadaab in Garissa District. By 2 August 2011, the crisis in the Horn of Africa affecting primarily Kenya, Somalia, Ethiopia and Djibouti continues, with a worsening drought, rising food prices and an ongoing conflict in Somalia. More than 12 million people are threatened by the regions worst drought in 60 years. Somalia faces one of the worlds most severe food security crises as it continues to endure an extended humanitarian emergency, with tens of thousands fleeing into Kenya and Ethiopia. More than 10,000 Somalis a week are now arriving in the Dadaab camps in north-eastern Kenya, where aid partners are struggling to meet the needs of 400,000 people. In drought-affected areas of Kenya, Somalia, Ethiopia and Djibouti, some 500,000 severely malnourished children are at imminent risk of dying, while a further 1.6 million moderately malnourished children and the wider-affected population are at high risk of disease. In northern Kenya, more than 25 per cent of children suffer from global acute malnutrition. UNICEF, together with Governments, UN, NGO and community partners, is supporting a range of interventions and essential services, especially for the displaced and for refugees, including feeding programmes, immunization mass vaccination campaigns are now underway in drought-affected parts of Kenya and Somalia and other health outreach, as well as access to safe water and to improve sanitation. In Kenya, the Ministry of Health, UNICEF and the World Health Organization (WHO) have reached 290,000 children with polio and measles vaccinations in refugee host communities near the Dadaab camps. UNICEF is providing the vaccines, as well as deworming tablets and vitamin A (to boost childrens immunity). A similar campaign is now under way to immunize children in the Dadaab camps. A joint United Nations appeal for humanitarian assistance for the region requires US$2.5 billion, less than half of which has been committed.

The World Health Organisation (WHO) has confirmed a third case of polio in Nigeria.

Aminu Muhammad, Rotary Club’s field coordinator, disclosed this to AP on Monday, saying a crippled toddler found in Monguno local government area of Borno state, is the victim.

Last month, two cases of the virus were discovered in Borno, with Isaac Adewole, minister of health, describing the development as a setback for the nation.

“It is unfortunate that we have the development. It has set us back. But I can assure the nation that we will do everything possible to be on top of the situation,” he had said.

“We are meeting again today. We had a meeting yesterday to look at the situation. We are drawing out an emergency plan and in the next 48 hours, we are dispatching a team there and we are going to start immunization.

“We would do three rounds of special immunization campaigns to make sure that we contain the situation.”

Nigeria recently celebrated two years of not recording a single Polio case.

Nigeria recently celebrated two years of not recording a single Polio case, but WHO said the virus had circulated undetected for five years.

Rotary is participating in a new emergency immunisation drive that vaccinated more than 1.5 million children last week in Borno.

The campaign is to spread across the country, with a plan to reach 25 million children before the end of the year.

The military has helped with the vaccination drive, which included logistics and other aid from the US Centers for Disease Control, the United Nations and Britain’s Save the Children as well as government health workers.

Military helicopters flew vaccines into places too dangerous to reach by road, and truckloads of troops and armoured cars escorted vaccinators elsewhere.

But Muhammad said they were using “hit and run” tactics to reach kids in areas where Boko Haram is present.


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