Polio programme underpinning measles campaign in Nigeria

In January, the polio programme is contributing to the protection of more than 4 million children against measles.

A mass vaccination campaign to protect more than 4 million children (4,766,214) against a measles outbreak in conflict-affected states in north-eastern Nigeria started on 13 January. The polio eradication infrastructure has been on hand to help with this feat of logistics from data management to training, social mobilization, monitoring and evaluation, supportive supervision and waste management.

“Nigeria’s well-established polio vaccination programme provides a strong underpinning for the campaign,” says Dr Alemu. “Population data from the polio programme has been essential to guide planning for the measles campaign. We are also able to make use of staff that have vast experience in providing health services in very difficult and risky areas.”

One third of more than 700 health facilities in Borno State, north-eastern Nigeria, have been completely destroyed, according to a report released in December by WHO. Of those facilities remaining, one third are not functioning at all. This is leaving the health of communities vulnerable.

WHO has a strong presence in the community in these areas thanks to a well-established polio programme which includes teams of health workers trained to work in areas of high insecurity and reach communities that no other partner can reach.