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.
Voices from the Field : "Give me a wheel chair to make me a doctor", by Jane Magoba Nyanzi
"Give me a wheel chair to make me a doctor," begged Sakina, a twelve-year-old girl of Lulu settlement in Kudai Ward of Dutse LGA in Jigawa state.
Sakina, a beautiful and cheerful girl was crippled by polio in July 2003. The disease stunted her growth and she now appears a quarter of her age. She is the fourth born of Musa Lulu an employee of the Dutse Local Government Authority. She had been immunized twice against polio while four rounds of polio vaccine would have fully protected her against wild polio virus.
According to her mother Hajara Musa: "It started as a very high fever; I thought of meningitis, we rushed her to Dutse General Hospital where she was given so many injections to which she did not respond. After ten days they sent us back home and Sakina's legs were so soft and weak. She could not walk and has never walked again," she elaborated.
Sakina would cry and refuse to eat anything when she saw her siblings going to school. That is when Hajara decided not to let the dreams of her daughter die.
"I talked to my husband but he seemed to be taking time to respond to my request of sending Sakina to school. I stayed in the house all day and I took care of Sakina all alone. Some neighbors would sympathize with my Sakina but provided no solution," she said.
Eventually Hajara went to a local welder and ordered a local wheelbarrow to be made which would ferry her daughter to and from school.
Tiny Sakina is now in Class three of Unguwarmadaki Lulu Primary school where she enjoys English as her best subject.
When I asked Sakina about her best subject through an interpreter she responded back in English by greeting me, welcoming me to their home and also telling me how old she was. Sakina then elaborated in Hausa;
"Please Madam give me a wheel chair to make me a doctor," she said.
It was not obvious to me first what she meant by asking for a wheel chair to become a doctor. Sakina then explained that a wheel chair would ease her travel to the local school and she would study hard to become a doctor and save all children from polio.
At the school the Headmaster Yusuf Suleiman noted that he had two children with polio in the school: Sakina in Class Three and Fahad in Class Two. He however, noted that Sakina was a special little girl as she was very cheerful and exceptionally bright.
"Her future might be blocked by environmental factors but the brains, she has got them," he stressed