The National Primary Health Care Development Agency (NPHCDA) has reacted to report by some sections of the media that there was an outbreak of wild poliovirus in some states. Reacting to the statement, the NPHCDA, Executive Secretary, Dr. Faisal Shuaibu disclosed that Nigeria has recorded 395 cases of circulating mutant poliovirus Type 2 (cMPV2) across 27 states of the federation including the Federal Capital Territory (FCT). The NPHCDA boss made this statement while reacting to the report in Abuja today; saying contrary to the report, what was recorded was not the Wild Polio Virus (WPV). That has been eradicated in the country since 2016, he said.
Dr. Shuaibu said, “Nigeria and the African region were certified Wild Polio Virus (WPV) free in 2020, following a rigorous verification and certification process by the African Regional Commission for the Certification of Poliomyelitis Eradication (ARCC) which spanned three years of no detection of WPV.
He added, “Till date, there has been no case of WPV anywhere in the country,”
The health expert explained that the cMPV2 outbreaks are caused by immunity gaps in children due to several reasons, including low routine immunization coverage, and missing children during immunization campaigns.
He further stated that “The suspension of several polio campaigns and other health programs in 2020, as well as disruptions to routine immunization because of the COVID-19 pandemic, created further immunity gaps which led to new and wider outbreaks, and further increased transmission of the circulating mutant poliovirus both globally and within Nigeria.”
The Executive Secretary revealed that part of what is causing the virus outbreak is poor sanitation, lack of access to clean water, and open defecation.
He explained the factors stated above are easily the transmitter of the disease from one person to another and can also be transmitted through contaminated water and poor sewage disposal.
Dr. Shuaibu added that “Malnutrition occasioned by increasing poverty is also a predisposing factor in exposed children. These non-wild polioviruses which originated because of normal changes in the reproduction of viruses in the environment are not as virulent as WPV and are also being reported in many other countries,”
He disclosed that Nigeria through a partnership with other international donors has acquired new tools to arrest the outbreak of the menace by placing a robust mechanism response with the help of the Novel Oral Polio Vaccine (nOPV2) which over the years has proven to be effective in stopping the cMPV2.
The statement added, “All 36 States and FCT have completed at least one nOPV2 Outbreak Response (OBR).
“Several other rounds of the OBR as well as other campaigns to improve the mucosal immunity of children aged o-5 years old using Injectable Polio Vaccine (IPV) has also been planned for this year.
He revealed that effort is on top gear to aggressively step up the routine immunization coverage beyond COVID values.