Polio outbreak embarrassing to me – Shettima

Polio outbreak embarrassing to me – Shettima

Borno State Governor, Kashim Shettima has explained reasons for fresh cases of polio in Borno State blaming it on impossibility of accessing communities to administer polio preventive vaccines from December, 2013 to end of 2015 as well as the earliest part of 2016.

He spoke in Mainok Village in Kaga local government area, shortly before launching $1 million food and farming aide donated by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation which targets distribution of food items and funding of farming activities to benefit 40,000 victims of the Boko Haram insurgency, who are being resettled to their communities.

Shettima was reacting for the first time since two cases of polio were confirmed in Borno last week, a development that many saw as a major setback in Nigeria’s efforts to eradicate the vaccine preventable disease.

He said, “Back in November, 2013, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation even rewarded Borno State for being the most committed to fighting polio in the northeast despite our insurgency. It is, however, unfortunate that last week, fresh cases of polio were identified in Borno.

“While this is officially painful and personally embarrassing to me as an award winner in polio eradication effort, the basis of the recent outbreak of polio is largely due to the unimaginable condition we found ourselves.

“I have heard one commentator saying Borno was dragging the country backward on polio eradication. From December 2013 to the end of 2015, we had hundreds of communities in 20 local government areas seized by Boko Haram; many roads were practically under their command; citizens, including young children, wandered for months around the deserts and forests, scampering for safety in the wake of attacks by Boko Haram on their communities.

“Thousands of citizens were trapped in communities around the Sambisa, around the shores of the Lake Chad and around territories being administered by Boko Haram; thousands, including pregnant women and children, were held captive by Boko Haram while hundreds of children were even born in captivity.

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