Nigeria not polio-free yet, says health minister
The Minister of Health, Prof. Isaac Adewole, said new cases of polio virus were recently discovered in some parts of Borno State.
The Nigerian Army has recently liberated Borno from the siege of insurgents.
Adewole made this known during the opening of the Ibadan Polio Laboratory at the University College Hospital.
The US Consular General, Mr. John Bray, graced the event.
The World Health Organisation-approved modular laboratory was facilitated by the US government through the United States Agency for International Development.
The minister said the laboratory would help polio surveillance system in Nigeria to ensure a polio-free society.
According to him, there are only two polio laboratory in Nigeria.
He said, “With the support from the US Government through the USAID and the technical support from the WHO, the laboratory is now upgraded to a modular form.
“The implication is that activities for sample testing will be faster, more accurate and cost effective. The modular laboratory comes with robust flexibility in terms of location and relocation.
“This modular laboratory could not have come at a more auspicious time when we have detected the presence of polio virus in some areas.
“The four new cases were detected in four council areas that were lately liberated from the insurgents by the Nigerian military in Borno State.
“Before now, they had no access to medical care in the last five years. It is not a surprise because they were never immunised against polio virus.
“While the discovery is a setback to Nigeria in the fight against polio, it is also a wake-up call to us as a nation. The military exercise there has given us access to the areas.”