Dedicated to Nigeria's socio-political issues
October 3, 2007 - December 2, 2007
THE DEADLY EXPORT
Despite much gnashing of teeth about Nigeria’s inability to compete as an effective exporter for products other than oil, there is something of which
Nigeria is one of the world’s top exporters and one of the top two global producers. This would have been great if I was talking about a manufacturing
industry. But, unfortunately it is the deadly disease, Polio. Nigeria is now among a unique trio of countries responsible for 99% of new polio infections.
Polio is a viral disease that attacks the nervous system. Children are particularly vulnerable to and infections can lead to death or paralysis. Many of
the people one sees on the street with withered legs are victims of this disease.
Once a worldwide scourge, Polio has been effectively eradicated in almost all countries of the world since an effective vaccination was discovered in the
1950s. Today, even countries like Sierra Leone and Liberia, which have been ravaged by war, have managed to eliminate this disease, and all of Nigeria's
neighbours have been polio-free for over a year. In fact, the whole of Africa is almost polio-free, but Nigeria is holding the continent back. Who would
have thought that Nigeria – the so-called “Giant of Africa” – which should be the leading light in the continent could be responsible for re-introducing polio
back into those other African countries that have managed to eradicate it.
Yet within Nigeria there are signficant differences, demonstrated by polio immunisation rates in different states.
Anambara, Cross River, Edo, Ekiti, , Imo, Kwara, Lagos, Niger, Oyo, Ogun,
Middle - 60- 80%
Abia, Adamawa, Bayelsa, Benue, Delta, Eboinyi, Enugu, FCT, Kogi,
Nasarawa, Ondo, Osun, Plateau, Rivers
Less than 60%
Borno, Bauchi, Gombe, Jigawa, Kebbi, Kano, Kaduna, Katsina, Sokoto, Taraba, Yobe Zamfara.
Polio eradication is within reach. One of the factors holding back full immunisation has been rumours linking the polio vaccine to HIV/AIDS, sterility and
other supposed ill-effects. Given the wide sucess of the vaccine in almost all continents (including the Middle East, Europe and elsewhere in Africa and
Nigeria), this simply is not true. What is true is that our children are at risk. If Somalian children in the middle of a civil war can be immunizied, why not
Nigerian children in peacetime.
This state of affairs can be changed. The states and LGAs need to be engaged - particularly States with low immunization rates. This is the time for political
and financial leadership to save our children.
Children of Mogadishu, Monrovia and Freetown are immunized? Why not us - the children ask? The children of Nigeria call on our leaders - political,
traditional, social and financial to come to their aid and to take a stand against polio. Obasanjo, Atiku, Babaginda, Buhari - where art thou? NLC - over to
you. You should be monitoring our progress in this area. The savings from the removal of oil subsidy would be more than sufficient to eradicate polio. The
the gauntlet is thrown. Nigeria can be polio free. No Nigerian child should ever suffer paralysis or die from polio again. The children of Nigeria ask for this.
Bala Funsho is a patriotic Nigerian who is interested in the well being of all Nigerians. Comments on this article can be sent to
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This page was last updated on 10/27/07.