FG Seeks $125m loan from World Bank to fight Polio •FCT to arrest, eject residents who reject immunisation

The Federal Government, on Thursday, disclosed that it is seeking for $125 million loan from the World Bank for provision of vaccines against polio epidemic and other communicable diseases in the country.

This was even as the Federal Government had released the N9.8 billion budgeted for that purpose in the 2016 budget to the Ministry of Health.

The Minister of Health, Professor Isaac  Adewole  told the Senate Committee on Primary Health Care and Communicable Diseases, that the loan facility became imperative as a result of the expensiveness of vaccines against polio virus and those of other communicable  diseases.

He explained that $60 million out of the $125 million loan  facility, would be used for vaccination against polio alone in six rounds, while the remaining $65 million would  be used for preventive vaccination against outbreak of any other communicable diseases.

The minister disclosed “Since the polio vaccine is quite expensive, Nigeria plans on obtaining a $125 million  loan facility from the World Bank,$60 million will go to polio while the remaining $65 million would be used for procurement of vaccines against possible  outbreak of any other communicable disease. You should expect that the borrowing plan will come through you.”

According to him, any case of polio is considered as an epidemic, which made the two recent cases in Borno i.e, Jere and Gwoza, to be considered as an emergency situation not only within the affected areas but in the entire country and countries bordering  it  around the place of outbreak.

Adewole  made it known that comprehensive curtailment plan against the epidemic had been put in place by his ministry out of which 800,000, children under the age of five  in five local government areas of Borno  State, had been immunised  against the polio  virus.

Round two of the curtailment plan against the epidemic according to him, is the immunisation of children under the age of five currently going on in Borno,Yobe,   Adamawa, Taraba and Gombe states.

Meanwhile, against the backdrop of new cases of wild polio outbreak in the country, residents of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) who reject immunisation would henceforth be arrested and ejected from the territory.

It was disclosed on Thursday, that the administration would henceforth work in collaboration with security agencies to compel both residents and visitors to the  territory, to accept the polio immunisation or leave the area.

To enforce the new immunisation programme, the administration, on Thursday, inaugurated a 35-man taskforce to coordinate the polio eradication and routine immunisation, with a warning that anybody who intended to reject immunisation should leave the territory, instead of staying back to constitute a risk.

The committee which has the FCT Permanent Secretary, Babatope Ajakaiye as chairman, and the Executive Secretary of FCT Primary Health Care Board, Rilwan Mohammed as  Secretary, is also to oversee preparation of budgets for immunisation activities and  ensure judicious use of all allocated funds for the purpose.