The Sultan of Sokoto and chairman of the Northern Traditional Rulers Council (NTRC), Alhaji Muhammad Sa’ad Abubakar III, asserted that Nigeria has several solutions to the problems encountering the country but is lacking in the capability to put them into action. He elaborated on the fact that Nigeria’s problems are not due to a lack of ideas or solutions, but rather to a lack of implementation. At a recent meeting in Kaduna among the Northern Traditional Rulers Council and the National Primary Healthcare Development Agency (NPHCDA), he also discussed ways to provide vaccinations to inaccessible areas in the North West part of the country.
Furthermore, the Sultan stated that no country can flourish if its people are unhealthy, as such a country needs to be healthy to progress. He, however, assured that the traditional institution will maintain its longstanding commitment to protecting children from vaccine-preventable diseases. At the occasion, the World Health Organization (WHO) stated that Nigeria has seen obstacles in its pursuit of Universal Health Coverage due to the inaccessibility of areas affected by security crisis in the North West region. WHO said 92 percent of new cases of Circulating Variant Polio Virus Type 2 (cVPV2) between January and August of 2023, were found in the region.
Inaccessibility to deliver PHC causes barrier Universal Health Coverage.
Dr. Walter Kazadi Mulombo, WHO representative in Nigeria, made the announcement, noting that a comparison of polio statistics from 2022 to 2023 shows a 63 percent decrease in the isolation of the circulating variant polio virus type 2 (cVPV2). Mulombo stated that the inaccessibility to deliver permanent health care (PHC) services to communities in North East Nigeria and, lately, North West has been a major barrier to Nigeria’s progress towards Universal Health Coverage. This occurs in scenarios where vaccination workers are unable to reach communities due to kidnapping or murder threats.
So far, 51 confirmed cases of cVPV2 have been recorded in 15 LGAs since January of 2023. However, the majority (47 of 51) of the cases come from regions in Northwest Nigeria. The vast majority of these instances come from states facing security crisis. Kaduna state has 19 local government areas (LGAs), with 111 wards that are unsafe to live in. He warned that these advances posed a significant threat to the achieved results. Dr. Mulombo, on the other hand, praised the Nigerian government for its commendable endeavor to promote primary healthcare through strong community participation in inaccessible regions, and encouraged traditional rulers to stand by the innovation to triumph.
Now is the moment to eradicate cVPV2, counterpart of poliovirus.
Also, Dr. Faisal Shuaib, executive director, NPHCDA, stated that Nigeria has not given up despite facing decades of challenges from Polio, an ancient and vindictive opponent. The government tackled the wild polio virus on several fronts before finally suppressing it. Now is the moment to eradicate cVPV2, the counterpart version of the poliovirus. Nevertheless he stressed the importance of a concerted effort in the fight against cVPV2, a cooperation between traditional, religious, and local leaders, health professionals, parents, and every person who hopes for a future without polio.
According to the NPHCDA executive director, Nigeria possesses all it needs to accomplish this enormous goal including resources, the expertise, commitment, and willpower. He also noted that the Traditional Rulers directive can promote rapid strides forward. Alhaji Muhammad Mera, the Emir of Argungu and chairman of the Northern Traditional Leaders Committee on Primary Health Care, said that the reports of a devastating security situation in Zamfara state birthed the meeting in Kaduna with traditional leaders of inaccessible communities to discuss the new polio variant.
Zamfara presently has the highest disease burden in Nigeria.
Many towns and children in the state are inaccessible due to the ongoing security situation, which increases the likelihood of an epidemic of vaccine-preventable diseases like the poliovirus’s mutated form. He claims that Zamfara presently has the highest disease burden in Nigeria, and that the virus strain originally discovered there has since spread to 28 other states in Nigeria and 29 other nations throughout Africa. After delving further into the Zamfara report, the group recognised that comparable security issues exist in Sokoto, Kebbi, Katsina, Kaduna, and Niger states.