Polio vaccinations reaching more of Nigeria’s children, reports UN agency

Polio vaccinations reaching more of Nigeria’s children, reports UN agency

Children being immunized against Polio
The United Nations health agency says mass vaccination campaigns are reaching more children than ever in polio-prone states in northern Nigeria, one of four countries, along with Afghanistan, India and Pakistan, where the disease is still endemic.

The number of children in Nigeria who have never been immunized against the disease – which is contracted through contaminated food, water and faeces and mainly affects children under five – has decreased since last year to 8 per cent from 16 per cent.

The World Health Organization (WHO) notes that progress was most marked in Kano state, where in ongoing tests this year, evaluators have found 12 per cent of children who had never been immunized, compared to 50 per cent in 2008.

Much of the success is attributed to the involvement of state governors in immunization campaigns which has translated into fewer children being missed.

According to WHO’s latest figures, 243 people in Nigeria had been diagnosed with polio from the start of 2009 to 12 May, up from 167 confirmed cases during the same period in 2008. Nearly 800 people were infected with polio in Nigeria last year.

So far this year, 417 polio cases have been reported globally, WHO reports.