LAGOS, (CAJ News) – THE United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) has reported two new cases of polio in Nigeria almost a year after the West African country was removed from the global polio-endemic list.
UNICEF said the cases underlined the emergency facing children in Borno State, the most heavily affected by the Boko Haram conflict and where children are already facing dangerously high levels of malnutrition.
“This sad news highlights the challenges in reaching vulnerable children, even with the most basic health services,” UNICEF stated early Friday.
The UN agency reported all children needed to be immunized against polio, but large areas of Borno were inaccessible because of conflict.
This makes it impossible to immunize children in volatile areas.
Nonetheless, officials said the new polio cases were discovered in areas that had recently become accessible.
The government, with UNICEF and other partners’ support, will be conducting emergency polio immunization in the areas where the cases were discovered.
“Despite this setback, Nigeria is determined to get back on course to end polio,” UNICEF stated.
In September last year, the World Health Organisation announced polio was no longer endemic in Nigeria.
It was the first time Nigeria had interrupted transmission of wild poliovirus, bringing the country and the African region closer than ever to being certified polio-free.
– CAJ News