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Fashola Advocates High Level Hygienic Practice As Sine Qua Non For Polio Eradicatrion In Nigeria
• Indiscriminate dumping of refuse and open defecation must stop if we must end polio", he says

Nov 20, 2014 - Lagos State Governor, Mr. Babatunde Fashola SAN, Thursday advocated high level of hygienic practices as the only means to ensure the complete eradication of the deadly Wild Polio Virus in the country.

Governor Fashola, who spoke at the 10 Degrees Event Centre, Oregun, venue of the formal launch of the Anti- Polio animated comic movie "The Polio" written by Olugbenga Kuye, stated that though there have been no cases of re-infection of Wild Polio in the last five years, samples of the virus have been seen in water bodies and soil tests indicating that the hygiene level was still low.

He expressed regrets that such unsanitary habits as indiscriminate dumping of refuse in open places and open urination and defecation are still the major practice in many communities across the nation pointing out that this must stop if the country genuinely intends to put an end to the virus.

Reiterating that Polio is as a result of poor hygiene and failure to take the immunization, Governor Fashola urged the people to do away with all the myths attached to the disease adding that once they immunize their children against the disease; they will be able to fight the virus when it comes into their body.

The Governor, who said there has been no reported case of Wild Polio virus in Lagos, attributed it to the fact that the State's health workers have taken the challenge headlong while the State Government remains committed to ensuring that the situation remains as it is.

He, however, maintained that as long as other parts of the country still have the virus and they could move from their location to Lagos, residents remain at the risk of getting re-infected adding that although Wild Polio virus has a vaccine it is still a problem for to overcome because people have refused to accept "the answer which science has provided"

Recalling the successful containment of the Ebola Virus in the State and the enthusiasm demonstrated by Lagosians towards the exercise, Governor Fashola declared, "Today, Ebola has no vaccine. We rose together simply because we all were afraid of Ebola. We did the right thing and we curtained Ebola which had to vaccine and cure".

"There is no basis for a disease that already has a vaccine to continue to trouble us", the Governor said adding, "The answer is that we take it for granted because we are not afraid. But even if we are not afraid, we can see how difficult it could be for the Polio survivors to get on with life. We can see that they can play football, struggle to go to work but is this the way we all want to be? They have showed themselves as the mistake that we had made earlier".

He noted that protection of life does not start and end with security alone, the Governor declared, "The most important side of it is to recognize that human beings is the most important resource that any civilization can have. And the process by which they arrive -birth- must be a production process that is faultless. Mothers should not die after birth and the child should be alive after he is born into the world".

"This was the reason the Lagos State government committed to a safe motherhood project and built 10 Maternal and Child Care health centres across the state, each with 100 bed spaces and two theatres",he stated.

Governor Fashola disclosed that very soon residents of Lagos would begin to see changes as the State is currently working with Immigration offices, shopping malls, public facilities where there are fast track facilities for people with disability so that they do not queue with people who are otherwise not challenged.

He added that government is also working on regulations to ensure that people do not abuse those facilities as the State Government would be starting with its own parking spaces in Alausa Secretariat where it has dedicated parking space for people with disability.

Governor Fashola paid glowing tribute to the Rotary International and other related organizations for their effective roles in seeing to the eradication of infectious diseases across the world, adding that they have provided leadership globally.

Fashola urged Nigerians not to underrate the risks that are inherent in the spread of infectious diseases, stressing that infectious diseases have been with mankind before many members of this generation came into being and would remain on planet Earth long after many have gone.

"The risk of infectious diseases continues to be heightened by the increasingly borderless world that we live. It is now possible, unlike 60 years ago, to travel from Africa to Europe and back on the same day. That is how the borders are shrinking. It is possible to order goods and they are delivered in packages in a couple of hours. But before, this takes months", he said.

According to the Governor, "People are migrating rapidly. And unless very high hygienic standard are maintained, it is very easy to spread these infectious diseases. One thing that has happened was that whenever such disease broke out, scientists and health workers have been very courageous and determined to find solution to them".

"We have had several diseases- Cholera, Common cold, Conjunctivitis, HIV, Bird Flu and just last week, foot and mouth disease broke out in Europe. It will never end. But our scientists have either presented us with cure in form of drugs or prevention inform of immunization. Virus like the Wild polio virus still does not have a cure. But it can be prevented through immunization", he added.

Governor Fashola stated that part of the pro active measures the present administration has taken in terms of taking care of the needs of the physically challenged was to set up agencies like the Lagos State Office of Disability (LASODA) to provide support for residents of Lagos who were physically challenged.

Describing Mr. Olugbenga Kuye as a visible example of what Polio could do to someone but also an example of the kind of indomitable spirit that does not surrender to adversity, the Governor urged the people to celebrate the producer of the movie "because he is an outstanding ambassador for children, good health and the eradication of Polio".

"He has been an Ambassador for Polio eradication since I was Chief Of Staff but there was no title like that in the Secretariat, Alausa. So really, he was an Ambassador without title and many of us can be ambassadors for good without any title; changing things in our little corner of the world", the Governor said.

He noted that LASODA was established 2012 there was no such office before then adding, "But at the moment we have appointed Mr. Kuye to be a member of that board; to do with a title what he had been doing without a title. It was not the title that made him. It was his own personal values that add credence to the work that the board is doing".

Speaking earlier, the Special Adviser to the Governor on Public Health, Dr Yewande Adeshina described Polio vaccines as very safe and well tolerated in children and enjoined political leaders to ensure that children are administered with the Polio vaccines during the scheduled periods for the campaigns, adding that Lagos State has attained and surpassed the 80 percent coverage level on Polio Immunization since 2013.

In his address, the Chairman of the event and National Chairman of the Nigeria National Polioplus Committee, Dr Tunji Funsho, commended the Lagos State Government for successfully stopping the transmission of Polio for over five years in the State adding that if Lagos State had been a country by now it would have been conferred with the status of a Polio free country by the World Health Organization.

Dr Funsho appealed to parents and guardians to ensure that whenever immunization rounds are going on, they are insistent that their children and wards are immunized and should not be worried about whether a child has taken one before, because it is never too much.

In his vote of assurance, the producer of the comic movie, Mr. Olugbenga Kuye thanked the Lagos State Government for the assistance rendered to him in actualizing the project giving a commitment that he would be aggressively committed to the campaign for immunization against Polio spread and that his dream gift to the Governor would be that in 10 years time, Polio would have been totally eradicated from Nigeria.

The Governor was later presented with a painting by Mr. Kuye before he formally launched the Antipolio animated comic movie titled "The Polio" in company of invited guests at the event.

Guests at the event included the representative of Polio friendly associations, MTN Nigeria, traditional rulers, school children and others from all walks of life.


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