Hours after the National Primary Health Care Development Agency (NPHCDA) through its executive director, Dr Faisal Shuaib, debunked the report of an outbreak of a new polio variant in some states of the federation, the Kano State Commissioner for Health, Dr. Aminu Ibrahim Tsanyawa, has confirmed one case of the virus in the state.
Tsanyawa also revealed that Yobe State has recorded six cases while there were five cases in the neighbouring Jigawa State.
He stated that the World Health Organisation (WHO) may be left with no option than to shift Nigeria off the pew of polio-free nations, as Kano has recorded a new case of circulating Derived Vaccine Polio Type 2 (cVDPV2).
LEADERSHIP checks at the Kano State Ministry of Health showed that Kano was yet to be free of the virus, which has the capacity of spreading like wildfire if urgent steps are not taken to curb it.
The Commissioner, who spoke through the State Director of Public Health, Dr Bashir Lawal, while fielding questions from journalists during the flag-off of the seasonal malaria chemo prevention campaign in Kano, stated that the cVDPV2 cases were discovered through experimentation of environmental sampling, not within human bodies as being experimented in the case of wild polio virus.
The Comissioner said, “with regards to the circulating derived Vaccine Polio virus we are having in the country, it has been isolated, we discovered one case in Kano, six in Yobe and five in Jigawa State, all in the North Western part of the country.”
Recall that Nigeria was certified polio-free in August, 2020. However, the status is currently being threatened following the discovery of cases of cVDPV2 in Kano, Yobe and Jigawa States.
The Commissioner, however, expressed concern that if adequate measures are not put in place, the development may give birth to another case of wild polio virus and eventual retrieval of the country’s polio-free certificate.
He further stated that, “when you have circulating virus does not mean that you have wild polio virus but it is a kind of window with which you see and then also reflect on your performances, one of which is after polio certification, is strengthening polio immunisation.”
According to him, the measures activated by stakeholders to avert the looming wild polio virus include series of routine immunisation campaigns.
“This is the reason why national calendar now put outbreak response (OBR) in phases, phase 0, 1 & 2,” he added.