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FG Gets $125 Million To Tackle Polio Resurgence

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Minister for Health, Isaac Adewole
Minister for Health, Isaac Adewole

The Federal Government has obtained a $125 million loan from the World Bank to tackle the resurgence of the wild polio virus and other health challenges in the country.

Minister of Health, Isaac Adewole, made this known while briefing the Senate Committee on Primary Health and Communicable Diseases on Thursday in Abuja.

He said that with approval from the National Assembly, 60 million dollars would be earmarked for polio, while the remaining 65 million dollars would be used for the provision of vaccines.

He also disclosed that government had released N10 billion from the 2016 budget to tackle the epidemic.

Adewole noted at least 800,000 children under the age of five years had been immunised in five local government areas in Borno since the latest cases were recorded.

The local government areas include Jere, Gwoza, Mafa, Maiduguri Municipality and Bama.

“The resurgence of polio is an unusual development and a major setback considering the investment of the international community, and the whole world was looking forward to celebrate Nigeria next year,” the minister said.

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He added, “I wasn’t expecting polio as a challenge; I was expecting teenage pregnancy and other health challenges,’’

Adewole said the ministry was not leaving anything to chance in its renewed fight against polio.

He disclosed that the health ministry will embark on six-round response programmes to immunize children under five in the whole of the country and neighbouring countries, to ensure that every potential child is immunized.

Adewole disclosed that 300 million doses of vaccine were required to be able to carry out immunization in the country to curtail the spread of the virus.

He, however, said that only 100 million doses of vaccine were on ground, adding that plans were ongoing to make up the required doses.

The minister also hinted that the ministry was considering the idea of administering injectable vaccines due to its efficacy, particularly in Borno, rather than relying solely on oral vaccine.

He also said that due to the security situation in the North-East, the medical team from the military had equally been deployed to assist experts from the ministry.

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On recent case of Lassa fever that claimed the life of a medical doctor in Delta, the minister said that measures have been put in place to curb further spread.

Chairman of the Senate Health Committee, Mao Ohuabunwa, urged the ministry to carry out more sensitisation and advocacy.

He urged the ministry to carry the legislature along in its activities, while pledging the committee’s support to the ministry in tackling challenges in the health sector.

 

 

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