Saturday, May 11, 2019 5:03 pm
The board said continuous vaccination was crucial to eradication of the disease in Nigeria.
Mrs Nana Yusuf, Director, Advocacy, Communication and Social Mobilisation of the board, gave the advice in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Saturday in Abuja.
Yusuf said that immunisation of children with vaccines was the only way to preventing polio as the disease had no cure.
“Polio is a highly infectious disease caused by a virus that mainly affects children under five years of age; it invades the nervous system and can cause paralysis in a matter of hours.
“It has no known cure, but immunisation with vaccine is the only way to prevent the disease, and polio vaccine given multiple times can protect a child for life.
“I encourage parents in the FCT to always make their children available for immunisation whenever the campaigns are on to help eradicate the disease completely from Nigeria,” she said.
The director said that before immunisation became available, polio was common in every country in the world.
She added that it was now limited to Nigeria as the only country in Africa and one of the remaining four countries in the world that still had the polio challenge.
She warned that all children below five years old who were not vaccinated were at risk of the polio infection.
“Before the availability of polio immunisation, polio was common in almost every country in the world, however, with strong immunisation programmes, the virus is now limited to a few countries.
” Nigeria is the only country in Africa, and one of just four countries in the world, that is polio endemic today.
“Children under five years of age who are not fully vaccinated are most at risk of polio infection,” she said.
She said that Nigeria continued to grapple with the polio challenge because many children were still not being reached with oral polio vaccination.
She advised that the only way to eliminate polio was to ensure that all children between ages zero to five years were immunised during every campaign and during routine immunisation at the health centre.
She assured that the Oral Polio Vaccine (OPV) was the safest and most effective way to protecting Nigerian children from polio.
” The OPV is recommended by doctors all over the world and accepted by all stakeholders, including our traditional and religious leaders.
” It is the same vaccine given to millions of children in the world to eliminate polio,” she said.