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Author Topic: Nigeria will stop polio this year - UNICEF rep  (Read 2827 times)
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Francis Umeoguaju
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« on: March 03, 2011, 01:47:21 am »


UNICEF representative in Nigeria, Dr. Suomi Sakai, has expressed confidence that the transmission of the wild polio virus would be stopped in Nigeria this year.
Sakai made this assertion during the week in Lagos at the commissioning of Vaccine Cold Store for the immunisation of three million children under one year and pregnant women in Lagos and other South West States. 
She said Nigeria is at the threshold of history, an “unprecedented opportunity to stop wild poliovirus transmission now more than ever before.”
“If the current pace and momentum are maintained and possibly increased at all levels, I am confident Nigeria will stop the wild polio virus transmission this year,” Sakai said. 
According to the UNICEF Rep, immunisation provides the best option for polio eradication being the best and most cost-effective interventions that a health system can provide. 
Sakai said, “Each year, immunisation saves the lives of millions of children and prevents countless episodes of illness and disability.”
He disclosed that the cold rooms that were commissioned in Ikeja and Oshodi would provide immunisation coverage for three million children under one year and pregnant women in the southwest region. 
The UNICEF representative, however, pointed out that immunisation services must be safe and of high quality, adding, “Vaccines must also be available in quantities that meet the demand in a timely fashion.”
Meanwhile the new South West zonal vaccine cold chain stores of the National Primary Health Care Development Agency would provide additional benefit to the immunisation programme in Lagos State and the entire South west states.

The cold rooms are part of the national cold chain rehabilitation plan supported by the Japanese Government funding and procured through UNICEF for storage of vaccines for State and Local Government levels. 
The total cost of the five 40 cubic meters’ per unit cold rooms commissioned in Lagos is N34.5 million. They have capacity to store enough vaccines to fully immunise 1.3 million children below age one and 1.65 million pregnant women each year in the South West states.
Lagos State Commissioner for Health, Dr ‘Jide Idris, said, “Lagos State Government is committed to achieve 80 per cent routine immunisation coverage rate and to improve the health of all children and pregnant women. This cold store will greatly help us in achieving this goal.” 
The Government of Japan has been one of the major donors through UNICEF of Nigeria’s polio eradication and immunisation programme since 2000. Last December, Japan donated N1.5 billion for the procurement of polio vaccines, cold chain equipment, Long Lasting Insecticide Nets and child survival supplies that will be used during Child Health weeks.
“I earnestly hope that this project will improve the welfare of Nigerian children” said, H.E. Mr Toshitsugu Uesawa, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of Japan to Nigeria. 

One of the key areas where UNICEF provides assistance to the Government of Nigeria for immunisation program is vaccine security and cold chain improvement. UNICEF Country Representative, Dr. Suomi Sakai, thanked the government and people of Japan for their “significant investments towards providing adequate cold chain equipment to health facilities throughout the country. 
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