By Our Correspondent
“The last case of wild polio virus was detected in July 2014 and by 25th of September 2015 Nigeria was delisted from the List of polio endemic countries…Nigeria as a nation is on its way to been certified polio free in a few months and you know what the last minute in every race means, your very best is required “.
Dr Betta Edu, Director General of the Cross River State Primary Health Care Development Agency, CRSPHCDA stated this while flagging off the WHO organized training for Disease Surveillance and Notification Officers in the state.
Poor knowledge among Disease Surveillance and Notification Officers (DSNOs) as a result of high staff turnover has been identified as a major reason for sub-optimal surveillance performance in Cross River.
The training is aimed at strengthening the Acute Flaccid Paralysis (AFP) surveillance sub-system of the Integrated Disease Surveillance and Response (IDSR). This was said by WHO at the training workshop for Health workers in the Cross River State.
Flagging off the training workshop, Dr. Betta Edu specially thanked World Health Organization, Federal Government, State government and health workers for the commitment that led to the eradication of polio in Nigeria.
She also sadly recounted the lives of frontline health workers lost in the build up to this polio success, insisting that their names should be immortalised.
The DG said in order to enhance the capacity of DSNOs to perform their roles in disease surveillance, cascaded training on polio and acute flaccid paralysis (AFP) surveillance sub-systems of the IDSR should be encouraged.
She called for the routine continuation of Immunization stating the steps the agency has taken so far such as the creation of Cross Border Immunization services and establishment of Health posts in borders to strengthen surveillance and control the cross border transmission of diseases.
She said the State Governor, Senator Ben Ayade will continue to support polio eradication processes in the state no matter what it will cost.
Noting that the Governor after assumption of Office has demonstrated passion to revitalize Healthcare in the State.
Finally the DG called for sustainable certification level acute flaccid paralysis surveillance for polio eradication in the state, noting that the strategies and Legacies of polio eradication process can be used at the primary health care level to effectively tackle other diseases in the state and in the country.
The Honorable Commissioner of Health, Dr Inyang Asibong who was duly represented by Elder Egis Omini, Director of Administration Ministry of Health noted that irrespective of the fact that polio have been eradicated in Nigeria, it does not mean we should all relax as he tasked the participants to be focused and add more knowledge and capacity.
He commended the effort of WHO, Federal and State Government over the successes recorded in the fight to eradicate polio.
Speaking Earlier, WHO Coordinator in Cross River State, Dr. Tom Igbu said they need to conduct formal training for the new surveillance officers and an opportunity to retrain the previous officers adding that the training is aimed at strengthening AFP and polio surveillance in order to ensure the process of certification for Nigeria.
He noted that direct immunization activities were used to achieve the current epidemiology success of polio transmission, as well as the goals and current status of the global and national initiatives on polio.
According to him the training will enable participants to understand and appreciate the surveillance process, indicators, and data management issues, as well as the role of officials at various levels, particularly DSNOs in both the AFP and polio surveillance subsystem.
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