THE RENEWED FIGHT against Poliomyelitis in the country has received a boost from US government with the commissioning of the first Polio modular laboratory within the premises of the University College Hospital, UCH, Ibadan built in partnership with World Health Organisation (WHO) and Federal Government.
The state-of-the-art polio modular laboratory located within the premises of UCH was built to help the country in the renewed effort at improving the efficiency of polio diagnosis through reliable environmental sampling.
Nigeria it would be recalled reported the resurgence of wild polio virus outbreak last August after more than two years without any new recorded case.
Subsequently, the federal government has stepped up with more vigour the battle to ensure that within the next one year the country makes giant leap to wipe out the virus through provision of special vote of N600m to emergency immunisation of all children in six States of Northeast.
Experts have however decried the poor response by states to commit counterpart funding to Maternal and Child Health Week programmes which has caused the withholding of donor support by UNICEF in those states.
For example in South West, while Ondo state takes the lead in performance for the 2015 maternal, newborn, children health week, Osun State’s performance was the worst followed by Oyo State both which have low coverage of routine immunisation from the assessment report given by the National Programme Manager, Saving One Million Lives Programme for Result, Dr Ibrahim Kana in Lagos.
Speaking at the commissioning and tour of the facility, U.S. Consul General, John Bray observed that the new Laboratory, built at the cost of about $400,000 exists alongside another accredited WHO polio laboratory which is equally located within UCH, Ibadan.
However the newly commissioned facility is said to be the first of its kind to exist in the country with the kind of sophisticated equipment for the detection of the wild polio virus (WPV) from waste water.
According to Bray, “This new facility will enhance Nigeria’s ability to respond to polio outbreaks quickly, by promptly diagnosing polio from samples received from the 48 environmental sewage sites across the country “.
Bray also observed, “The eradication of poliomyelitis will be accomplished only when polio laboratories provide convincing diagnostic evidence of the absence of wild poliovirus infections in humans and prolonged circulation in the environment”.