Drops of Joy

The fight against Polio moves from India to Nigeria

The global Polio Eradication Initiative (GPEI), a spearheading group of Rotary International, UNICEF, WHO and CDC, along with national governments across the globe are close to eradicating polio from the rest of the world but are still working on managing the problem in Nigeria. This is a big concern for India as even though Nigeria is geographically far from India, a large number of Indians live in south Nigeria, for trade and employment, which is a possibility of polio being transmitted back to India. Saboo will be guiding the medical mission to Nigeria with the view to create an atmosphere of goodwill and also to support the inadequate health services in one of the third Polio endemic country after Pakistan and Afghanistan. A team of 24 Indian doctors and volunteers – from across the country - will soon fly from Mumbai on a 10-day mission to Abuja in Nigeria, to conduct surgeries to correct deformities arising from polio. Earlier this year, a team of Polio experts (of WHO-NPSP) from India visited Nigeria to support Polio surveillance and monitoring facilities, lessons that finally helped India eradicate the virus. "Each country is different with its own set of issues and challenges, but Nigeria can model and at also replicate efforts proved successful in India to address some similar problems. The country made strong progress in 2010 but slipped backward in 2011" said Saboo. "Certain sections of the population in Nigeria are resisting immunisation for their children. The refusal is on grounds like religion and some just misconceptions. Also some areas in northern part of Nigeria, access and reach is still a big challenge and hence a big concern for the neighboring polio-free countries and those with ties" he added.

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