HC Deb 08 September 2003 vol 410 c87W
John Barrett

To ask the Minister of State, Department for International Development what progress is being made towards the immunisation of people in Nigeria against polio. [127942]

Hilary Benn

Routine immunization coverage in Nigeria reaches about 27 per cent. of children with Oral Polio Vaccine (OPV). Due to the poor state of routine immunization services, the Federal Government of Nigeria established in 1997 the National Programme on Immunization (NPI). The NPI has focussed on providing supplementary, door-to-door coverage with OPV using National and Sub-national Immunization Days (NIDs and SNIDs). Around 40 million doses are administered through NIDs and SNIDs every year.

Interruption of the transmission of Wild Polio Virus (WPV) had been achieved in 29 out of 37 states by 2001, but unfortunately the situation has again worsened, with confirmed cases in 15 states in the first half of 2003. All these states are in the north, and the south remains polio-free. Adverse propaganda by religious leaders is alienating some sections of the population from the immunization workers.

My Department is working with the Nigerian Government and with other international partners to meet the challenge of polio eradication in Nigeria. This includes a grant of £50 million to the World Health Organization for polio work in the ten global priority countries.