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Saudi bans pilgrims from Bauchi, Toro LGAs over polio outbreak

| December 6, 2013 More

CONCERNED with new cases of polio recorded in the two local government areas of the state, Saudi Arabia authorities have banned intending Muslim pilgrims from Bauchi and Toro local government areas of Bauchi State from performing the obligatory hajj exercise as from 2014.

This followed the six new cases of polio outbreak recorded in the state this year, with Toro Local Government accounting for five, while Bauchi Local Government  recorded only one.

Making this known on Thursday while inaugurating community distribution of misoprostol and chlorhexidine at Urban Maternity Centre in Bauchi, Bauchi State governor, Mallam Isa Yuguda, lamented the development, attributing it to the activities of some Islamic clerics in the state who had been preaching against polio vaccines.

Yuguda stated that the preachings of these clerics had brought serious setbacks to the fight against polio in the state, despite the fact that the government was doing everything possible to meet up with the global December, 2013 eradication target.

While assuring the people of Bauchi State of his administartion’s determination to do everything possible to ensure that the state was free from polio virus, Governor Yuguda urged religious leaders to encourage their followers to accept polio vaccines, declaring that even Saudi Arabia had succeeded in eradicating the polio virus.

Also speaking on the occasion, the Emir of Dass, who also doubles as the chairman of the state Social Mobilisation Committee on Polio Eradication, Alhaji Usman Bilyaminu Othman, expressed sadness over the ban placed on intending pilgrims from the two local government areas due to outbreak of fresh polio cases in their areas.

 He said that it was unfortunate considering the fact that the government was doing everything it could to ensure that polio was completely eradicated from the state, adding that every effort was also being made to reach all communities no matter how remote to ensure that each child was vaccinated against polio.

According to Alhaji Othman, “unfortunately, despite all these efforts, we had cases of resistance, particularly in Bauchi. There was even a case of an Islamic cleric who stopped his own children and children in the community from accepting the vaccine, because he had issues.  When we went to his place with stakeholders from WHO, PHC and other observers to know what the issues were, we were surprised when he told us that he called the commissioner for health to congratulate him on his appointment but he did not respond.”

Category: Bauchi State News

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