Some victims of Polio virus in Gombe State have expressed willingness to offer themselves as volunteers for creating awareness on the dangers of resisting polio immunisation. Some of the victims in Gombe on Friday said that they have rendered themselves as community volunteers for the campaign against the virus.
According to them, they have not been finding things easy as they are facing numerous challenges following their disability status. Some even said they were facing stigma from their immediate family members as well as the general public. Malam Abubakar Yusuf, 45 years, said more effort was needed on raising public awareness for people to understand that polio is preventive.
“It is very important to carry us along since we are victims, especially on market days so that people will see and believe. A lot needs to be done especially in villages or un-entered areas where there is resistance due to their ignorant situation. Adequate information needs to reach the people with known evidence like those affected by polio within the area,” Yusuf said.
Mr Babangida Yahaya, 35 years, a resident of Tudun Wada, Gombe, says as he cannot remember if there was polio immunisation then, but people believed that it is a disease which was ascribed to witchcraft. “Since the disease is preventable and the vaccine is free of charge, awareness campaign is the only solution to eradicate it completely. Another area is to reach the villagers through awareness because they still rely on the old approach ascribing the virus to which-craft. It will be good to create more ways of reaching out to people with the campaigns,” he said.
A 30-year-old Zainab Umar said she became a victim of polio virus because of lack of awareness and it is unfortunate people were still ignorant about the virus or rather lack awareness. “I am calling on the government to ensure adequate mobilisation of all involved in the awareness campaigns, especially in going to un-entered areas or hinterlands. For now, involving community volunteers, especially victims of polio will go a long way in improving acceptance of the polio immunisation in most of these communities,” she said.
Mr Musa Kuna, the Deputy Director of Immunisation, Gombe State Primary Health Care Development Agency, also said that the state was witnessing an influx of Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) daily as a result of insurgency. According to him, in the last Immunisation Plus Days, which was conducted in July, more than 90 per cent coverage was recorded. He attributed the success to government commitment at all levels as well as development partners. Kuna further called on parents to support government efforts by releasing their wards for the immunisation.