The assistant director-general, World Health Organisation, polio, emergency and country collaboration, Dr Bruce Alyward, has said that the country is not on track to achieve its polio eradication goal on time.
He said that the increasing cases of wild polio virus in the country constitute a real and growing international public health risk, with Nigeria currently having 84 cases of wild polio virus in 10 states in the north.
Alward, who was speaking yesterday in Abuja during the 24th meeting of the Expert Review Committee (ERC) on Polio Eradication and Routine Immunisation in Nigeria, said Nigeria was the only country in the world to record polio cases consistently in the last two years and the only country with increasing cases of the virus.
Though he commended the improvement in the quality of the polio eradication programme, and the Immunisation Polio Days (IPD) performance in the hitherto worst performing local government areas, he said it was still too slow in some states like Sokoto.
According to Alyward, this slow rate of improvement would only achieve control and not eradication unless it was accelerated.
He said, "It's the number that put the country at risk, not the quality of performance. The improvement in IPD is not translating to reducing the number of cases."
The WHO expert noted that though every country was expected now to operate in emergency mode, there was not a shared and pervasive sense of emergency in the country, which he described as "the big problem".