• Says it will not change strategy
By Onche Odeh, Head Education & Science
The Federal Government of Nigeria has said the killing of nine health workers attached to the polio immunization team at two separate health centres in Lagos will not deter it from stepping up the tempo in the final push to rid the country of polio.
This was confirmed by the country’s Minister of Health, Professor Onyebuchi Chukwu, who told Daily Independent that the incidence will not cause any major setback for the country in the fight to eradicate polio.
Nigeria is one among the last few countries were polio still lingers, pushing forward the target period for global eradication of the highly viral disease that has maimed and killed many children in the endemic countries.
According to Chukwu, “There will be n o change in strategy. Only an intensification of the programme,” will be done.
He said the dead could only be honoured if Nigeria is able to successfully eradicate polio.
“The memories of our heroines will only be adequately honoured when polio is eradicated from Nigeria. This is not negotiable,” the minister disclosed to Daily Independent.
On Friday, February 8, at least nine young women working on a polio vaccination campaign were targeted and killed by gunmen in two separate incidents in health centres located in Unguwa Uku and Hotoro Hayi, areas of the volatile northern Nigerian state of Kano by the Boko Haram, a muslim extremist group.
This is one in series of similar attacks on health workers, especially those involved in campaign to eradicate polio. Unfortunately, this is becoming a trade for the last few polio endemic countries of the world as sixteen health workers, mostly primarily women were killed by Taliban gunmen in Pakistan in two incidents in December and January.