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By, Nick Dugba

In order to strengthen healthcare delivery in the State as part of the ‘rescue mission,’ the Taraba state government is prepared to upgrade and make functional one Primary Health Center in each of the Senatorial zones to operate on a 24-hour basis in line with the PHC policy of the Federal Government.

This was disclosed by the Executive Governor of Taraba state, Arc. Darius Dickson Ishaku, in his speech during the official flag- off ceremony of the third round of Polio Outbreak Response/ Sub-National Immunization Plus Days Campaign held on Friday 14th October 2016 at the State Specialist Hospital Jalingo.

img_20161014_1126451Represented by the Deputy Governor, Engr. Haruna Manu, the governor stated that government’s commitment to payment of counterpart funds for every Outbreak Response Campaign was borne out of the desire to protect and preserve the future generations of the state and that ‘administrative bottlenecks’ have been removed by approving and releasing at once the state counterpart funds for the remaining rounds of the Outbreak Response Campaign in the state.

The governor further stated that “government will look into the possible amendment of the Law establishing Taraba state Primary Healthcare Development Agency” by submitting a bill to the Taraba state House of Assembly.

Also in his address, the State Commissioner for Health, Dr Innocent Vakkai, stated that the 3rd round of the vaccination campaign will commence from 15th to 18th October 2016 and therefore urged all stakeholders to sustain the efforts as the state was still vulnerable to the Polio virus due to the continuous influx of migrants from neighboring States.

He added that the rejection of polio vaccines by the people was on the increase in the state and called on citizens of the state and migrants to keep supporting all immunization programs and activities, saying that the just-concluded September Outbreak Campaigns witnessed 945,172 of children vaccinated.

In his speech, the Minister of State for Health, Dr. Osagie Ehanire, stated that in July 2014, the country was free of polio, but that in August 2016, there was a resurgence of the virus in Borno which he blamed on the insurgency.

He said that at the moment only three countries, Afghanistan, Pakistan and Nigeria were infected with the virus.

He added that Taraba State was vulnerable due to the influx of IDPs from these States hence the need to cover the State.

He pointed the factors that could put the state at risk to include, the nonrelease of counterpart funds which could affect the campaign, which Taraba LGA chairpersons only took part in only about 50 percent review meeting of polio, and lack of functional equipment.

He, however, commended the state for the payment of its counterpart funds and the installation of solar powered refrigerators.

The Polio Outbreak Response was coming on the heels of the recent discovery of 4 cases of the wild poliovirus in Nigeria which has threatened the free status of the country recently awarded to it by the WHO.