Following reports of new polio cases, the Federal Government says it is set to adopt a “nomadic strategy” that will enable it to reach out to nomads and capture their young ones in the polio immunisation exercise.

Speaking on the reason behind the change in strategy on Monday, Muhammad Pate, the ?Minister of State for Health, said record has shown that young nomads were manifesting the wild polio virus because of their nomadic lifestyle.

“We have seen nomadic populations, migrants populations with children that are manifesting the Wild Polio Virus,” he said.

“Because, you see, for the nomadic migrant populations, when you go to the campaign, they are neither here or there; they are not captured in this macro-plan or other macro-plan because they are not fixed.

“So, that is why there is now a nomadic strategy to see that we capture the tracks where they go and be able to immunise them in those areas. If we are to get 100 percent, nobody can be left behind.?

He said in some of the states, new settlements that were not in the original macro-plan for the eradication of polio had been discovered, and such settlements would be captured in an updated plan.

Pate said the presidential task force on polio eradication had set up an accountability framework to ensure that local government chairmen were held accountable for the outbreak of polio in their respective areas.

The minister of state said the governors had assured President Goodluck Jonathan of their commitment to eradicating polio from their respective states.

Pate spoke of the strategies put in place to improve the quality of campaign, including:

“Boost of routine immunisation; improving macro plans, the nomadic strategies to follow the nomadic population and ensure that they are also immunised.

“Improve the accountability of the local government chairmen so that they pay attention to the programme in their own respective states; additional boost in the grants; these are the solutions to the challenges we’re facing in the programme.?

According to the minister, the country had made appreciable progress in polio eradication, considering that a few years back, thousands of children from no less than 27 states of the federation used to be paralysed by the polio virus.

Pate said Nigeria now had less than a hundred children paralysed in less than 5 percent of local government in a few states.

He said the expansion of immunisation coverage had been localised to a few states and a few local government areas.

The minister further spoke of some of the challenges facing the exercise and steps that had been taken to address such.

“Sometimes, teams don?t report where there is non-compliance or where they missed children; and, at its third meeting, the Presidential Task Force on Polio Eradication suspended almost 42 independent monitors, who were found to be doing the wrong things,” he cited as example.

?So, that is accountability: so that everyone along the chain has to be responsible and held responsible for what he or she should do.?

He said agencies such as WHO and UNICEF had moved their staff to areas with prevalence of the wild polio virus instead of spreading them thinly throughout the country.

Pate said the Federal Government had done all that was possible to curb the disease, and added that the next immunisation exercise would hold in mid-September.

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