The Federal Government with
the support of the Polio
Eradication Initiative partners
launched a new
communication campaign on
24th September, 2011 entitled
Polio Free Torch Campaign.
Supported by the Nigerian Olympic Committee (NOC), this campaign is designed to mobilize wide support from a variety of stakeholders at national and state levels for the last lap of the polio eradication efforts in Nigeria.
As the world heads for the London 2012 Olympic Games, the Polio Free Torch illustrates the determination of the Nigerian Polio Eradication Initiative to make the year 2012 the last year that Nigeria witnesses a case of Polio.
Hundreds of thousands of children continue to be missed during polio immunization campaigns in Nigeria
ABUJA (Nigeria), 3rd May 2012 – While the proportion of missed children has shown a slightly decreasing trend in the last three rounds of Immunization Plus Days: 8.0% in December, 7.8% in February and 7.8% in March, hundreds of thousands of children continue to be missed during polio immunization campaigns in Nigeria. According to the latest UNICEF data analysis, Kano has the highest percentage of missed children (9.8%) followed by Kebbi (9.7%) and Jigawa (8.5%). ‘Child absent’ remains the main reason for missed children, accounting for over 66% of the total number of missed children.
“Children who are absent when vaccination teams visit are usually at playgrounds, which are usually not far from their homes. Other times, they may be at social events, which often take place in or near the household,” said Tommi Laulajainen, Chief of UNICEF Polio Communication.
Non-compliance as a reason for missed children during IPDs also remains high in some parts of Nigeria. Nationally, caregivers’ refusals to vaccinate their children account for 24% of the total number of missed children during campaigns. States like Borno (41%), Yobe (38%) and Katsina (24%) still have a high proportion of unresolved non-compliance even after revisit teams have gone back to the households refusing vaccination in the first place. REDO data for the last three Immunization Plus Days shows that “Traditional leaders” are amongst the most significant groups in terms of resolving vaccine refusals.
In the March campaign, Yobe had the highest non-compliance (33%). In Jigawa, “no felt need” is a dominating reason for refusals with 44% of caregivers refusing OPV citing this reason. The main reasons for non-compliance in high risk states are given as “no felt need” (27%), “no reason” (26%), “no care giver consent” (14%), “too many rounds” (8%), and “OPV safety” (7%).
“Many social studies have revealed that high risk populations in Nigeria do not know how many doses of Oral Polio Vaccine (OPV) their children require. Additionally, caregivers have some concerns over the safety of OPV, or do not feel their children are susceptible to polio, which could contribute to the response of “no felt need.” Other social and political factors also contribute to refusals,” Laulajainen continued.
In the highest risk states, 96% of the caregivers are aware of the Immunization Plus Days. A total of 48% of the caregivers were informed about Immunization Plus Days by town announcers followed by radio (20%), and traditional leaders (17%). March data analysis also revealed that 58% of the decisions for immunization were taken by the husbands and 25% by the mothers. In the last six rounds of Immunization Plus Days, over 85% of decisions to vaccinate are influenced by the caregiver and the husband.
As of 27 April 2012, Nigeria has recorded 27 cases of wild poliovirus in eight States compared to 11 cases in 4 States for the same period in 2011. In four key infected states – Borno, Kano, Sokoto and Yobe - more than one in three children has received less than four doses of oral polio vaccine. Nigeria is one of the most entrenched reservoirs of wild poliovirus in the world. It is the only country with on-going transmission of all three serotypes: wild poliovirus type 1, wild poliovirus type 3, and circulating vaccine-derived poliovirus type 2.