ADENIYI OLUGBEMI writes about the challenges that can hinder the eradication of polio in the state of Sokoto
hajiya Zainab Abdulnaseer is an adequate description of disability capacity. Against all odds, Abdulnaseer, a master of a master's degree, is a polio survivor.
Abdulnaseer, a mother of three children and now Deputy News Director at the NTA, Sokoto Network Center, is committed to childhood immunization against polio and other deadly diseases.
She said: "From my mother I found out that I was walking at seven months old and it was when I was one year old when I had a severe fever and they gave me an injection. There, I could not sit down, but I could only crawl. My mother only told me that she had taken me to the hospital for a routine injection.
"My disability actually robbed me of becoming a doctor. Even as a physically disabled person, I obtained the required qualifications and was admitted to Usmanu Danfodiyo University, Sokoto, in 1990 to study medicine, but I was recommended to request a change of course.
"My advice to parents is that polio is real and we have to protect our children with free vaccines. As a survivor, I can say that polio does not end only with disability. There are age-related pains and traumas that come with that. "
Despite warnings derived from their personal experience, some parents have been accused of generating new ways to protect their children from polio vaccines.
This, among other problems, such as inadequate logistics in transportation areas, poor roads and difficult terrain among others, plagued the November round of the Fractional Dose Inactivated Polio Vaccine / Oral Polio Vaccination in Sokoto.
A vaccinator in room "B" of Yabo, who participated in the immunization against poliomyelitis in the October round and spoke on condition of anonymity, told his experience to our correspondent.
He stated that "the last month of vaccination against poliomyelitis was my second experience as a vaccinator and the level of noncompliance in Yabo's" Y "room was higher than Yabo's" A "during my first experience.
"I discovered that some people, because of their religious beliefs, did not allow their children to be vaccinated against polio or any other deadly disease." My encounter in a particular house was shocking.
"When we arrived at the house with a colleague and asked the woman to bring her children under the age of five for vaccination, the woman took out her daughter and showed us her nail marked with a pen, an indication that it had been vaccinated
"To our surprise, the usual code mark in the houses where the children had been vaccinated was not on the wall of their house and, when it was investigated, the woman closed the door on us. Fortunately on our way back, we saw the girl and asked her who marked her nail, and the girl innocently responded to Baba na, (my father). "
PUNCH OF SUNDAY The investigation also revealed that many people in a religious sect refused to allow their children to participate in the exercise despite the persuasion of traditional, religious and opinion leaders.
Some sources told our correspondent that these adherents sometimes confused the vaccinators by marking their houses with the code to give the impression that their houses had been visited and their children had been vaccinated.
Subsequent research showed that some mothers rejected vaccination of their children with the excuse that the vaccines they had given had expired. Later, they would drop the vaccinators with the excuse that they would prefer to go to the health center for the vaccines, but they would not.
The leader of communication on UNICEF polio in Sokoto, Pío Attandoh, who denied knowing the situation, said: "If there is any of that, it will be weird.
"What I do know is that because of the advantage we provide along with immunization like noodles, some caregivers try to clean the ink in the hands of a child, so that the child can get more, without knowing that the skin absorbs it quickly .
"With the kind of monitoring mechanism that we have installed, it is difficult for all of that to happen. Each mark on the wall is peculiar and not everyone can decode it. It could mean that a vaccine was not administered in a particular house, that no eligible child or child is absent. The brand is there for the senior officer to follow up. "
Attandoh, however, said there could be a situation in which a house was not marked during the exercise.
He said: "When the mother fulfills the wish of the father, since our focus is on the child, and we do not want to break any marriage, we respect the mother's desire, by immunizing the child in silence and leaving the house unmarked. .
"Where there is noncompliance, we have a peculiar brand and the list of such houses is compiled and sent to the higher authorities. Another essence of the brand is to monitor if the vaccinators do their job. "
In addition, the Sokoto State Coordinator, Journalists Against Polio, Abdallah el-Kurebe, said that non-compliance with immunization was predominantly among poor and uneducated parents.
El-Kurebe recalled a scenario in which an academic rejected the vaccination of his children, adding that when the state polio immunization mobilization committee vaccinated his children by force, the professor sought legal redress and won.
The JAP coordinator said: "If citizens trust the government for all this, they should be made to respect all the rules and regulations to achieve a healthy society. This informs the need to comply with the preventive measures established by the government. The breach must be punished. "
A consultant from the World Health Organization in Sokoto, Dr. Larai Tambuwal, said there was a five percent rejection of vaccines in the state.
Tambuwal said: "We are almost there, but it is possible that we will not be able to achieve it unless we show a greater commitment on the part of all the interested parties. As long as polio exists anywhere, children everywhere are at risk. "
Available records indicate that the savings in health care costs attributable to the campaign to eradicate polio are estimated in billions of dollars up to the year 2035. In addition, the net benefit of the entire polio eradication program is estimated, as the complementary vitamins included in oral vaccines. have generated around $ 90 billion in savings and prevented another 5.4 million infant deaths.
Unlike Abdulnaseer, who is from a privileged family, the situation is different for Ahmed Goronyo, another 36-year-old polio survivor, who blamed his disability on the poor and illiterate background of his parents.
Ahmed, a shoemaker, said PUNCH OF SUNDAY that even when he asked his parents who was responsible for the condition of his disabled right leg, the only answer his father gave him before he died was that it was his destiny.
He said: "His argument was that none of his children got vaccinated against polio and that, just for me, being disabled was my destiny."
"Even when other polio survivors tracked their disability to the lack of polio vaccines and I asked my father if I ever took the vaccines, he told me he was not aware of that vaccine."
The father of two, who spoke in Hausa, said that when he realized that he was the only person with disabilities in his village, they decided to keep him inside so they would not be ridiculed.
"I can not go to Islamiyya school with my brothers or play with my clbadmates because of my disability. My release came when my maternal uncle took me to Sokoto, he got me a cane and then he made me learn shoemaking.
"Now that I know the consequence of not taking the polio vaccine, I made sure none of my two children lost the vaccine," he said.
According to PUNCH OF SUNDAY In the investigation, the last case of poliomyelitis in the state of Sokoto was in 2012 in Lahodu, area of the local government of Wurno, where Abdullahi Keli, who is now 10 years old, was identified. Since then, there have been no reported cases.
Keli is now a point of reference during the immunization campaign and promotion, particularly in and around the Wurno council, a focal area in the state for the fight against polio.
With 222 cases in Nigeria, Pakistan and Afghanistan in 2012, Nigeria only recorded four cases in 2016 and in this outgoing year, there has been no new case of poliomyelitis.
The state government in collaboration with UNICEF introduced the fractional dose inactivated polio vaccine with the oral polio vaccine during the November 2018 round in select areas of local government.
The FIPV benefits children vaccinated early against polio, as well as children at zero doses. Increases the immunity of children who have previously received OPV. The FIPV can be administered alone or at the same time with any OPV vaccine.
During the six-day immunization just concluded, FIVP was administered by intramuscular injection, while OPV was administered orally. However, it was a win-win situation since all the children who came out for the vaccination, smiled at home with a packet of noodles.
While government at all levels and donor partners try to limit polio to history, there are efforts to subvert the total eradication of polio, even when the erroneous impression that polio vaccines target Africa's depopulation is has demystified with scientific evidence.
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