IN its efforts aimed at adequately tackling the fresh outbreak of polio myelitis in Nigeria, the federal government has asked the World Bank to grant it a $125 million loan for provision of enough vaccines against the epidemic and other communicable diseases.
Professor Isaac Adewole
But the government has released the N9.8billion budgeted for that purpose in the 2016 budget for the Ministry of Health. Minister of Health, Professor Isaac Adewale, hinted this yesterday, in Abuja, when he appeared before the Senate Committee on Primary Health Care and Communicable Diseases. The requested loan facility, according to him, became necessary given the high cost of anti-polio vaccines and those of other communicable diseases. He explained that $60 million out of the $125 million loan facility , would be used for vaccination against polio alone in six rounds while the remaining $65 million would be used for preventive vaccination against the outbreak of any other communicable disease.
Hear him: “Since the polio vaccine is quite expensive, Nigeria plans on obtaining a $125m loan facility from world bank, $ 60m will go to polio while the remaining $65 million would be used for procurement of vaccines against possible outbreak of any other communicable disease.” You should expect that the borrowing plan will come through you.“
According to him, any case of polio is considered as an epidemic , which made the two recent cases in Borno i .e, Jere and Gwoza , to be considered as an emergency situation not only within the affected areas but in the entire country and countries bordering it around the place of outbreak.
He disclosed that comprehensive curtailment plan against the epidemic had been put in place by his Ministry out of which 800, 000, children under the age of five in five local government of Borno State , have been immunized against the polio virus. Round two of the curtailment plan against the epidemic according to him, is the immunization of children under the age of five currently going on in Borno, Yobe, Adamawa, Taraba and Gombe states. He added that Round three of the immunization exercise would cover 18 out of the 19 states in the North while round five of the exercise would cover the entire country, before going back for another round of immunization of children in Jere, Gwoza , Maiduguri Municipality, Bama and Mafa local governments as round six.
On Lassa fever, the minister told the committee that his ministry was on top of the situation inspite of an incident recorded recently in Asaba , Delta State just as he assured Nigerians not to panic over possible outbreak of the Zika virus, “ saying Zika has been with us for a long time since 1954 without any serious incident. Speaking at the occasion, chairman of the committee, Senators Mao Ohuabunwa, PDP, Abia North, charged government agencies to judiciously utilize funds from donor agencies so that the purpose for which the we’re meant for were achieved. He assured the minister and heads of other health agencies that the Senate would always support them at all times in the discharge of their duties to Nigerians.