The National Primary Healthcare Development Agency (NPHDA), has sought cooperation with the Nigerian Army to reach and immunise children in 2, 622 Borno remote communities against the polio virus.
Blueprint Correspondent who is currently in Maiduguri reports that the Executive-General of NPHDA, Dr. Faisal Shuaibu, made the appeal in Maiduguri when he led a team from the agency on a visit to the Chief of Army Staff, Lt.-General Tukur Buratai.
Shuaibu disclosed that Nigeria is due to be certified polio free country in six months (October), saying that cooperation from the military, especially Nigerian army was imperative to reach children in those remote communities.
“We (agency and army) have worked tremendously well in the last two years to ensure that even the most difficult terrain that all children get the vaccines that they need,” he said.
“Under the Chief of Army Staff, we have set up an initiative that we call the Buratai Initiative, reaching inaccessible children to ensure that immediately they are rescued they get the oral polio vaccine.
“As result of this collaboration, we are now some six months away from being declared polio free. It is an amazing time for all Nigerians because from the next six months, no child will be paralysed by the wild polio virus.
“So, we are really excited about the collaboration,’’ Shuaibu said.
Responding, Buratai gave the Theatre Commander, Operation Lafiya Dole, Maj.-Gen. Benson Akinroluyo and field commanders three months deadline to work with the agency to access those communities and vaccinate the children.
“They are asking for six months, but I am giving the Theatre Commander three months to see how we can quickly achieve the desired result,” hr said.
“We are involved in clearance and rescue operations. When we rescue women and children, especially the children that require immunisation, they are immunised.
“We have been working together, they – NPHDA, provide the vaccines to our troops, and as they go on in their operations, when they rescue, they immediately get them immunised.
“So, this is how we support the National Primary Healthcare Development Agency –NPHDA.
“We have been doing this since 2017 and we will continue to do this until we complete the task.”