Vaccine Network for Disease Control geared towards Polio Eradication in Nigeria :- Mrs Chika
Report from ‘Polio Global Eradication Initiative’, highlighted some of the achievements made in the fight against polio in Nigeria. In 2022, there was an 84% decline in variant type 2 poliovirus cases, reduced from 415 cases in 2021 to 48 in 2022.
Recently, Peace Ofeoshi, the Editor-in-Chief of the GreenLand News honoured Mrs Chika Offor, the Chief Executive Officer,(CEO) of Vaccine Network for Disease Control, during World Press Freedom Day which the GreenLand News Partnered with the Nigerian Union of Journalists (NUJ) FCT Council on May 3rd 2023, in Abuja.
Mrs Chika who is a member of Business and Professional Women (BPW) is also a member other international professional bodies. The award recognition is for her Immense Contribution in Polio Eradication in Nigeria. Chatting with her she said, “Vaccine Network for Disease Control is an NGO that focuses on community development as a strategy to develop Nigeria. We believe that everything that disrupts development is a disease and anything that supports development is a vaccine. For instance, lack of education is a big disease, educating the girl child is a good vaccine.”
“Also, we believe that gender -based violence is a disease, girl child marriage is a disease, and educating the girl child is the vaccine. So we believe that vaccines are very important; even normal vaccines for the diseases that can be prevented through vaccination. We also believe that vaccines means freedom. For instance, COVID -19 pandemic blocked everybody at home, Some of us were in the house, many people fell ill and died. Imagine we had vaccines then much lives would have been saved. When we have vaccine everybody was released and people started going about their businesses. Now you can travel. People do not want to wear face masks anymore. These happened when vaccine was introduced. It shows that prevention is freedom. “
She lamented on the lack of education and enlightenment for some rural Women. According to her, sometimes women are not enlightened when they learnt of it. There is a difference between hearing and knowing. They hear it, but they do not believe it; that is where issue of trust comes in. This is because they do not trust the system or source of information.
“Our job in vaccine network is to give the right information to people in the community. We discuss the way forward for the community but we do not take the decision for them. We only guide their responses and develop the solutions.”
In her words:
“In Nigeria, we have done very well in terms of educating people on polio. In fact, Nigeria was ticked. Right now, Nigeria does not have wild polio virus and we celebrate it. Also, World Health Organization (WHO) celebrated and announced it. But we have what they call circulating polio virus. Which is derived from people not completing their polio vaccination. You are supposed to take polio four times and you take the injectable one. Sometimes the people will take one or two and would not complete it. So incomplete vaccination is also a problem. So we have to give information to the community.”
Mrs Chika who advised parents to immunize their children also encouraged them to complete their dosage.
In February 2023, the ERC convened its 39th meeting in Nigeria to make recommendations aimed at interrupting transmission of variant type 2 polio and maintaining its indigenous wild poliovirus-free certification status along with the entire African Region. Led by the Ministry of Health’s National Primary Healthcare Development Agency and supported by GPEI partners, Nigerian civil society and Rotarians across the country, efforts are intensifying to fully implement the National Polio Emergency Action Plan (NPEAP).