Nigeria

Experts begin second wave of polio outbreak response assessment in Nigeria

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Abuja, 31 October 2017 - The polio Outbreak Response Assessment (OBRA) team with representation from the Global Polio Eradication Initiative (GPEI) partnership has started the second evaluation of the response to polio outbreak in Nigeria.

The independent assessment will “assess and strengthen efforts to increase population immunity; assess progress towards interrupting polio transmission and strengthen surveillance sensitivity”, says the Team Lead, Professor Daniel Tarantola.

To provide background information to the assessors, the National Primary Health Care Development Agency (NPHCDA) held a briefing meeting in Abuja on 30 October 2107 with Polio experts and partners from Nigeria to share activities conducted over the past months, outcomes and perspectives.

In one of the presentations, Charles Korir of World Health Organization (WHO) Nigeria says, “As security improves, the proportion of inaccessible settlements to health workers also reduced from 50% in July 2016 to 33% in July 2017. An estimated 9,972,000 children have been vaccinated per supplemental immunization campaign round conducted between January and July 2017.

However, he cautions, “Despite efforts made to reach children with vaccines, it is estimated that over 160,000 children below 5 years remain unreachable in Borno state”.

In Nigeria, several strategies have also been implemented to reduce the number of unreached children over the past months. These include Reaching Every Settlement (RES), Reaching Inaccessible Children (RIC) and expanding transit vaccination sites, health camps and scope of activities by hard to reach teams. Other initiatives that continue to be strengthened include routine immunization, innovative disease surveillance activities and health communications.

For the second round of the OBRA, aside discussions at the national level, states with polio outbreak like Borno and Sokoto will be visited as well as Adamawa, a security challenged state bordering Borno which was the epicenter of the 2016 outbreak. The OBRA team is expected to present a report of its findings to government and partners on 10 November 2017 in Abuja.

-Technical contact:

Dr Richard Banda; Tel: +234 803 535 4875; Email: bandari@who.int