Nigeria suffered a relapse last month as two new cases of polio were recorded in Borno State in the north east of the country, two years after the last incident was reported.
The first new case was a 4-and-a-half-year-old girl named Aisha whose extended family escaped from Boko Haram-controlled territory in May and trekked two days to an internally displaced persons camp.
The girl, who became paralyzed on July 6, has since recovered “and now walks without a limp,” said Michael Zaffran, the new director of polio eradication of the world health body.
The second case involved a 12-month-old boy who was paralyzed on July 13, not far from Chibok.
So what was responsible for this reoccurrence of the disease? A few factors:
1. Because of the 2-year break in new cases, many of the government experts who led the battle to wipe out the virus in Nigeria have moved on.
2. The presidential task force on polio eradication hasn’t convened in at least a year.
3. Although the central government has budgeted money for polio eradication this year, officials have not yet released it.