Challenges of polio reduction in North-east

Boko Haram activities have limited access to some areas in the North-east and thereby hindered vaccination in those areas. Though Nigeria has gone 18 months without any new case of polio outbreak, but conflict areas are still under threat.

Speaking at the 35th meeting of the Expert Review Committee for polio eradication and routine immunisation in Nigeria in Abuja on Tuesday, the chairman of the committee, Oyewale Tomori, described access to such areas as key to eradicating the virus.

“The only solution is get rid of Boko Haram and get access to the children. Whatever the government needs to get it done, let’s get politics out of it and let’s solve the problem in those LGAs. And in another six months, this country will be free from polio if we can get access required,” he said.

Mr Tomori, who solicited for support for the $1 billion request tabled by the government to execute the fight against insurgency in the North-east, urged Nigerians not to play politics with the matter.

“We haven’t done too well since 2004. Different governments have come, and given commitment which they call political will but, I call political wit. They give the will but they do not commit, which means putting your money and self into it. For polio to be eradicated, it takes personal commitment.”

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