UNICEF cautions Nigeria, says polio may resurface
The United Nations International Children’s Fund (UNICEF) has stated that polio could resurface in Nigeria without adequate awareness on the need for immunisation.
Recall that the Independent Africa Regional Certification Commission (ARCC) for polio eradication on August 25, 2020 officially declared Nigeria and the rest of Africa free of indigenous wild poliovirus.
But Elizabeth Onitolo, UNICEF communication for development specialist, warned at the opening session of a three-day media dialogue on Tuesday in Adamawa state that more awareness was needed to avoid a return of the disease.
The joint media dialogue was organised by UNICEF, Child Rights Information Bureau (CRIB), and the ministry of information and culture.
Onitolo said even though the country has been declared free of polio by the World Health Organisation (WHO), there is a need for increasing awareness on immunisation, particularly in the north-east region.
“There is a need for the media to do more awareness, particularly for people in the north-east, to guard against the coming back of polio and other likely diseases into the country,” she said.
“No child must die of polio again in Nigeria. We sincerely plead with the media to help us out by creating awareness and sensitising the people on routine immunisation.
“This meeting is to improve the knowledge of key media practitioners on low routine immunisation coverage; it is also to strengthen the alliance with the media.
“The meeting is for the media to support the national plan to strengthen immunisation on COVID-19 information, and provide the media with additional sources of information on COVID-19.”
Onitolo, who expressed concern about the negative attitude of some Nigerians concerning the COVID-19 vaccine, urged the media to help build confidence by reporting the importance and benefits of vaccination and immunisation.
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