Organization is one of the big challenges facing the polio eradication effort in northern Nigeria. Polio immunization campaigns are frequently postponed, understaffed or under-resourced. The local health ministry is heavy on bureaucratic procedures and light on resources. Most health clinics, for instance, don’t have electricity.
And while eradicating polio was declared an emergency by the World Health Assembly this year, there is little or no sense of that urgency among ordinary Nigerians. In fact, as polio becomes almost extinct, some people are suspicious when a large polio vaccination campaign rolls into their village, says Suleiman Abdullahi from the World Health Organization.
Some villagers argue that malaria is a far bigger problem than polio and question why aid groups aren’t doing something about that. “Some felt that there are no drugs in the hospital, and then why are you coming to my house and giving me free things?” Abdullahi says.
Important analysis of the polio situation in Northern Nigeria.