The Nigerian Medical Association (NMA) has called on stakeholders in the health sector to ensure that Nigeria is declared polio-free in 2019.
Dr Philip Ekpe Philip, the Chairman of NMA, FCT chapter, gave the task at the opening of the Physician Week on Tuesday in Abuja.
”Nigeria was about to eradicate polio in 2016 but unfortunately there were diagnosis in Borno; and for a country to be free of polio it has to be diagnosis for three years.
“We were delisted in 2016, so by 2019 if there are no any diagnosis then we will join the rest of the world to be declared as polio-free.
“We are therefore calling on the Federal Government, our team and other stakeholders to make sure that we don’t get another diagnosis just about the time that we are about to be declared polio free,” he said.
Speaking earlier, Dr Matthew Ashikeni, the Director, FCT Health and Human Services Secretariat, said that the Federal Government is committed to making sure that polio is eradicated in 2019.
According to him, the government is putting a lot of resources together with its partners to ensure that every child in Nigeria is protected against polio.
“You know that it paralysis the child; the only way we can prevent polio sustainably and in a very cost effective manner is to make sure that a child receive vaccine.
“Ordinarily, it should not be a difficult thing because we all want our children to be healthy but there are a lot of misinformation.
“The doctors have to take responsibility because if you are my patient, I think it is my responsibility to guide you properly to make sure you know some of the benefits of a vaccine.
“it is very safe and highly protective. India was able to eradicate polio in 2012. India is bigger than Nigeria and if we talk of resources we have enough resources as India so why can’t we eradicate polio.
“So I challenge the doctors today to rise up to the challenge, ensure that your clients, their patients, friends and family members are able to receive routine immunization.
“The coverage of routine immunization is very low, the average for Nigeria is 33 per cent; there are states with three per cent and it is not good enough,” he stressed.