An initiative to increase polio vaccination in Nigeria has been a success, but continued commitment from the government is needed// to help eradicate the virus from northern states, say officials.
The Immunization Plus Days (IPDs) initiative was launched in May 2006 by the National Programme on Immunization (NPI) ˉ a government initiative with support from UNICEF and the World Health Organization — to tackle polio in the 18 northern regions still affected by the virus.
People in these states have refused the vaccine because of religious reasons or the belief that it renders women infertile.
The IPD initiative aims to counter these beliefs and provides supplemental health benefits such as vitamin A, de-worming tablets and vaccinations for measles, DPT (diphtheria, pertussis and tetanus) as well as oral polio vaccine (OPV).
"The IPDs have really increased acceptance of immunisation," said Mustapha Mahmud, North-Central Zonal Coordinator for NPI.
Mahmud told SciDev.Net that the initiative has reduced cases of polio from 70 to four per month in the northern areas.
Nigeria has also implemented several Sub-National Immunization Days, during which OPV is administered to children aged 0–59 months through house-to-house visits by health workers.
But Mahmud warned that, despite the initiative, the northern states are still high-risk areas, as too many children do not receive immunisation. Polio vaccine is still not accepted in some areas and logistical and resource problems mean that not all areas are covered.
NPI chief executive Edugie Abebe said that the programme aims to address these issues by containing the virus and building capacity by training personnel.
"We aim to completely interrupt the transmission of the wild polio virus by 2007, by sustaining the gains we have made on immunisation in 2006," said Abebe.
Abebe pointed out that the federal governmPage: 1 2 Related medicine news :1
. Nigerian girl recovering well after removal of brain tumor2
. Nigerian Farmers To Import Bird Flu Vaccine From Israel3
. One Nigerian Cocaine Pedellar Nabbed4
. Bird Flu Detected In Remote Nigerian State5
. Bird Flu Virus Reported In Remote Nigerian State6
. South Africa: Nigerian Man Treated for Lassa Fever7
. The Potential Of Cadaver Transplantation Programme In India8
. Time for A.R.Rahman to rock the Tuberculosis Awareness Programme9
. Hepatitis B Vaccine To Be Included In National Immunization Programme 10
. LINK Applied Genomics Programme Promises To Revolutionize Healthcare Systems11
. Pneumococcal Vaccine: Childhood Immunization Programme has a new recruit