Isaac Adewole, the minister of health, says he was expecting to deal with teenage pregnancies and other challenges, not a resurgence of polio.
The minister said this on Thursday while briefing the senate committee on primary healthcare and communicable diseases on the federal government’s efforts to deal with the disease.
“I wasn’t expecting polio as a challenge, I was expecting teenage pregnancy and other health challenges,” he said.
“The resurgence of polio is an unusual development and a major setback considering the investment of the international community, and the whole world was looking forward to celebrate Nigeria next year.”
Adewole explained that as part of government’s efforts to tackle polio, a loan of $125 million had been obtained from the World Bank.
The minister said with national assembly’s approval, $60 million would be used to tackle the fresh cases of polio while $65 million would be use to procure vaccines.
He said the federal government also needed about N30 billion to tackle the menace.
According to him, about 800,000 children under the age of five years had been immunised in five local government areas in Borno state.
The minister said that of the 300 million doses of vaccine required for immunisation in the country to curtail the spread of the virus, only a 100 million was available.
Also speaking, Mao Ohuabunwa, chairman of the senate committee on primary healthcare and communicable diseases, the committee would support the health ministry in tackling health challenges of the country.
“If we didn’t initiate this meeting, we would not have been carried along,” he said.
“I expected that immediately you had this outbreak, you would have alerted us to say areas where we could collaborate with you to alert state assemblies for sensitisation.”