Integration of Essential Polio Eradication Functions into Existing COVID-19 Response Activities.

Polio has existed in Nigeria as far back as the 1950s. In 2006, Nigeria had the greatest number of confirmed cases of polio worldwide. (However, with the implementation of a more ‘‘collaborative approach,’’ incorporating other vaccines and health incentives such as bed nets, the number of polio cases declined). On August 25, 2020, Nigeria and the whole of the African region were declared wild polio virus-free (zero cases of the wild poliovirus). However, Nigeria had 8 CASES of the circulating vaccine-derived poliovirus type 2 (cVDPV2) in 2020 and in 2021, many states and FCT have reported a total of 274 cases.

With the presence of the COVID-19 pandemic, several polio campaigns and other health programmes were suspended, leading to disruptions in routine immunization and creating further immunity gaps. This led to new and wider outbreaks, and increased transmission of the circulating vaccine-derived poliovirus within Nigeria.

In view of this, Vaccine Network for Disease Control, through the support of the UN Foundation conducted a project tagged Integrating Essential Polio Eradication Functions into Existing COVID-19 Response Activities. This was aimed at keeping the polio eradication and transition message on the fore, through the activities of selected and trained civil society organizations. We utilized the WHOLE FAMILY APPROACH (WFA). The WFA is a strategy devised by the government, wherein every member of the family can access at least one health service during a family visit to the health facility.  The health facility becomes a one-stop health facility with childhood vaccination (RI), screening for hypertension, diabetes and malnutrition, and Covid-19 vaccines.

Vaccine Network for Disease Control, therefore, built the capacity of CSOs on polio assets and the Whole Family Approach, conducted advocacy visits to the key government actors, conducted community sensitization meetings on routine immunization and adapted an accountability framework to gauge the level of preparedness of the health facilities for this novel strategy.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *