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.
Polio situation: already 45 new cases of wild poliovirus in 2012
ABUJA (Nigeria), 29 June 2012 - As of 22 June 2012, Nigeria has recorded 45 cases of wild poliovirus in 10 States compared to 25 cases in 6 States for the same period in 2011. In key infected states like Borno, Kano, Sokoto and Yobe more than one in three children has received less than four doses of oral polio vaccine. Polio-free states like Kaduna and Niger were re-infected in 2012. Nigeria contributes 90% to the polio burden in Africa and more than 50% of this year’s cases worldwide are from Nigeria.
Low quality routine services are further deteriorating. For DTP3, for example, coverage plummeted in 2011 with the number of unimmunized infants increasing by 55% compared to 2010. There were also central stock-outs of four of the eight childhood vaccines. Children are missed during campaigns due to a mixture of operational and social factors and these program gaps must be addressed if more children are to be reached.
While the proportion of missed children has shown a slightly decreasing trend in the last three rounds (7.2% in February, 7.4% in March and 7.2% in May), hundreds of thousands of children continue to be missed during polio immunization campaigns in Nigeria. According to the latest UNICEF Social Data Analysis, Kano has the highest percentage of missed children (8.9%), followed by Kebbi (8.4%) and Sokoto (8.1%). In all northern high risk states, caregivers’ refusals to vaccinate their children account for 24% of the total number of missed children during the May Immunization Plus Days.
In 2012, the President of Nigeria declared polio eradication as a national emergency, and Nigeria has committed additional funds to the program from its own treasury. Domestic funding to polio eradication increased from $17m to $30m per year. Nevertheless, the Global Polio Eradication Initiative is currently facing its largest funding gap worldwide since its inception, with a total shortfall of $1 billion out of the $2.23 billion budget.
The Nigeria Emergency Plan for 2012 that was finalized in April is promising, and if vigorously implemented can achieve a rapid jump in campaign coverage. This plan aims to improve the national ownership and accountability, review Supplementary Immunization Activities (SIA) and Plans for 2012-2013, improve SIA quality and monitoring, and enhance surveillance. The 23rd Expert Review Committee (28-29 March 2012) clearly emphasized the need to rapidly improve campaign quality in the worst performing local government areas (LGAs) in high risk states.
NPHCDA, UNICEF and Partners as part of the polio eradication program, have deployed a team of Volunteer Community Mobilizers to address the issues of missed children and refusals to polio immunization programs. This initiative is hoped to contribute to the reduction of missed children through targeted interventions house-to-house to generate demand for and acceptance of oral polio vaccine. In total, over 2,150 settlement level volunteer community mobilizers will be deployed in the settlements where missed children and refusals of oral polio vaccine are still persistent.
In 2012, Nigeria has already conducted two national and one large-scale subnational supplementary immunization rounds. Four more Immunization Plus Days are planned for this year along with mop-up campaigns with detection of new wild poliovirus cases. The next campaign is planned from 7 to 10 July in some of the highest risk States of Nigeria.
For more information: Tommi Laulajainen, Chief of Communization (Polio), UNICEF Nigeria Country Office, T. +234-70 6401 9646, E. email@example.com, I. www.poliofreenigeria.com
FACTS AND FIGURES
* Proportion of missed children: 7.2% in February, 7.4% in March and 7.2% in May.
* Kano has the highest percentage of missed children (8.9%) followed by Kebbi (8.4%) and Sokoto (8.1%).
* ‘Child absent’ remains the main reason for missed children, accounting for over 67% of the total number of missed children.
* Caregivers’ refusals to vaccinate their children account for 24% of the total number of missed children.
* States like Yobe (54%), Borno (39%) and Zamfara (28%) still have a high proportion of unresolved non-compliance.
* “Traditional leaders” are amongst the most significant groups in terms of resolving vaccine refusals (30%).
* Sokoto had the highest non-compliance (37%).
* The main reasons for non-compliance in high risk states are given as “no felt need” (25%), “no reason” (24%), “no care giver consent” (15%), “religious belief” (10%), and “too many rounds” (7%).
* 97% of the caregivers are aware of the Immunization Plus Days.
* In the last six rounds of Immunization Plus Days, over 80% of decisions to vaccinate are influenced by the caregiver and the husband.