The Sultan of Sokoto and chairman, Northern Traditional Rulers Council (NTRC) Alhaji Muhammad Sa’ad Abubakar III has said Nigeria is bereft of the solutions to the challenges facing the country but poor in implementing them.
The eminent monarch said the problem of Nigeria is not lack of ideas or solutions to its challenges, but implementation of the identified solutions.
He spoke yesterday in Kaduna during the strategic meeting of Northern Traditional Rulers Council and National Primary Healthcare Development Agency (NPHCDA) on how to reach inaccessible communities in the North West region with vaccines
The Sultan said a healthy nation is a progressive nation and as such, no nation can develop when its citizens are not healthy. He however promised that the traditional institution will continue to support the immunisation of children against vaccine preventable diseases.
At the event, the World Health Organisation (WHO) said inaccessibility of communities troubled by security challenges in the North West region, has continued to cause setbacks to Nigeria in achieving Universal Health Coverage, saying that, 92% of the new cases of Circulating Variant Polio Virus type 2 (cVPV2) recorded between January and August 2023, were from the areas.
WHO stated this in Kaduna yesterday during the strategic meeting of Northern Traditional Rulers Council and National Primary Healthcare Development Agency (NPHCDA) on how to reach inaccessible communities in the North West with vaccines.
WHO country representative to Nigeria, Dr Walter Kazadi Mulombo who made the disclosure said, the Nigerian polio statistics of week 32, 2023, indicates that the isolation of the circulating variant polio virus type 2 (cVPV2) has reduced by 63% in Nigeria when 2023 and 2022 were compared.
Mulombo said, “The ongoing inaccessibility to the delivery of PHC services to communities in the North East Nigeria and more recently, North West has continued to bring setbacks to Nigeria in achieving Universal Health Coverage: Especially in the instances where vaccination teams cannot access communities because of the fear of being kidnapped or killed.
“Fifty-one cases of cVPV2 have so far been detected between January and 13 August 2023 from 15 LGAs. However, 47 of the 51 cases (92%) are from this axis of North West Nigeria. Majority of the cases are from states with security challenges in the region.
In Kaduna state there are 19 LGAs involving 111 wards with insecure settlements. This poses a serious risk to the success recorded so far,” he said.
The WHO country representative however commended the Government of Nigeria for this laudable initiative of PHC strengthening through strong community engagement in inaccessible areas and urged the traditional rulers to support the innovative to succeed.
Also, the executive director NPHCDA, Dr. Faisal Shuaib said, “Polio, an ancient and relentless foe, has tested Nigeria’s resilience for decades, but the Nation has not faltered or surrendered “We have fought several battles until we won the war against wild polio virus. Now, the time has come to overcome its counterpart known as the circulating variant polio virus (cVPV2).
He however said that the battle against cVPV2 requires a united front – a bond between traditional, religious and local leaders, health workers, parents, and every citizen who dreams of a polio-free future.
“We have the tools, the knowledge, the experience and the unwavering spirit to achieve this monumental task. Your leadership as Traditional Rulers can accelerate our progress,” he said.
Also, the Emir of Argungu who doubles as the chairman of Northern Traditional leaders committee on Primary Health Care, Alhaji Muhammad Mera said the need to convene in Kaduna with traditional leaders of inaccessible communities, regarding the new variant of polio disease stemmed from reports of devastating security situation in Zamfara state, which made access to many communities and children difficult or impossible, thereby creating a risk of outbreak or Vaccine-Preventable Diseases, especially the mutated vaccine-derived polio Virus.
According to him, “Zamfara currently has the highest burden of the disease in the country and the strain of the Virus from the state has been found in 28 states in Nigeria and 29 countries across Africa. Following detailed discussions of the report from Zamfara, the meeting noted that similar security situations also exist in Sokoto, Kebbi, Katsina, Kaduna and Niger states.”