The Chairman Ogun State Branch of National Association Of Community Health Practitioner Of Nigeria (NACHPN), Comrade Afuape Monday Olusola, has said that Nigeria was about to be certified polio virus free by World Health Organization (WHO) come August 2019, as the country was totally free of polio epidemic.
Olusola made this known to Journalists at the 5th Annual Edition of Get-Together and Congress organised for members of the community health practitioners by the Ogun State Branch of NACHPN, held at Apena Imagbon, Via Oke-Mosan, Abeokuta, the state capital.
He said poliomyelitis (Polio) was a highly infectious vital disease, which mainly affects young children, noting that the virus transmitted by person-to-peeson spread mainly through the faecal-oral route or, less frequently, by a common vehicle (e.g. Contaminated water or food).
He said community health workers were the custodian of Primary Health Care, which taking care of community inhabitants, less privileged Peoples, pregnant women in the community and the rural dwellers, noting that where there is no community health workers, then there is no community as well.
“We are the people of the community, we leave in the community, we take care of community inhabitants and rural dwellers, and where there is no community health workers, automatically there is no community, we stand as a first aid for the people of the community when the need arise,” Olusola said.
He added that Nigeria has been certified free of guinea worm and chicken pox with active surveillance still ongoing, noting that another history was about to repeat itself and set in, as Nigeria is about to be certified polio free too.
“As a community health workers, we have a great role to play, in terms of community sensitization, role of active surveillance of these diseases, so as to ensure that this certification come through, to let the community know about poliomyelitis, the causes and how it can be prevented, so we need to engage our people in routine immunization to prevent the causes of epidemic,” Olusola said.
In the same vein, the state Epidemiologist, Dr. Yusuf Akeem, said that polio was a contagious viral illness that in its most severe form cause nerve injury leading to paralysis, difficulty breathing and sometimes leads to death, noting that polio could cause paralysis and death.
He added that the majority of people who were infected with the virus don’t get sick and were not aware they have been infected, advising the people to approach any community health centre nearest to them for any uncommon diseases and strange illness.
“It is very imperative for people of the community to usually visit any primary health care centres nearest to them whenever they notice any uncommon illness, as the diseases usually paralysis legs and stiff necks when affecting people, usually attack young children in our community, don’t hesitate to go for medical check-up when observing strange illness,” Akeem said.