AbstractObjectiveTo identify and address gaps in acute flaccid surveillance for polioeradication in Buchi stateIntroductionPoliomyelitis a disease targeted for eradication since 19881still pose public health challenge. The Eastern Mediterranean andAfrican Regions out of the six World Health Organization (WHO)Regions are yet to be certified polio free2. The certification of theWHO Africa region is largely dependent on Nigeria, while the WHOEastern Mediterranean is dependent on Pakistan and Afghanistan.Surveillance for acute flaccid paralysis (AFP) is one of the criticalelements of the polio eradication initiative. It provides the neededinformation to alert health managers and clinician to timely initiateactions to interrupt transmission of the polio disease and evidence forthe absence of the wild polio virus.3,4One of the core assignments ofthe certification committee in all regions is to review documentationto verify the absence of wild poliovirus.5Good and completedocumentation is the proxy indication of the quality of the systemwhile poor documentation translates to possibilities of missing wildpoliovirus in the past. We evaluated the performance of the AFPsurveillance system in Bauchi, which is among the 11 high risks statesfor wild polio virus in Nigeria to identify and address gaps in thesurveillance system.MethodsWe conducted a cross-sectional study in Bauchi State. We assessedthe material and documentations on AFP surveillance in eighteen of thetwenty Local Government Areas (LGAs). We assessed the knowledgeof the clinician at focal and non-focal sites on case definition of AFP,the number and method of stool specimen collection to investigate acase and types of training received for AFP surveillance. We verifiedAFP case investigations for the last three years: The caregivers(mothers) were interviewed to authenticate the reported informationof AFP cases, the method used for stool specimen collection andfeedbacks. Community leaders’ knowledge on AFP surveillance wasalso assessed. Data was entered and analyzed in excel spread sheet.ResultsReview of the expected deliverables of 18 out of the 20 LGAdisease surveillance and notification officers (DSNO) revealed thatonly 2(11%), 5(28%), 6(33%) and 7(39%) had evidence of poliooutbreak investigation, supervisory reports, minutes of meeting andsurveillance work plan respectively. Of the 31 AFP cases investigated,correct and complete information was 39% for birth day, 26% forbirth month of the child, 23% for date of onset of paralysis and 23%for date of investigation. Contacts of informants, AFP 001-3 weredeficient in the focal and non-focal sites. The non-focal also lackedguidelines for integrated disease surveillance and response (IDSR)and terms of reference for surveillance focal person.Knowledge of case definition of AFP was 71% and 30% amongclinician at the focal and non-focal sites, respectively and 88% and55% for method of stool collection among clinician at focal and non-focal sites. Among the 38 care givers (mothers) interviewed 16 (42%)did not remember the day or month the investigation for the AFPwas conducted, 36(95%) gave the correct number of stool samples,15(40%) mentioned that the stool samples were collected 24 hoursapart and only 12 (32%) received feedbacks. Majority (79%) of thecommunity leaders interviewed were aware of AFP and knew thatstool was the specimen for investigation of the AFP but 21% did notknow whom to report a case of AFP in their communityConclusionsOur study revealed knowledge and documentations gaps in AFPsurveillance for certification of polio-free in Nigeria. The stateministry of health and the WHO consultants in the polio eradicationunit should update the knowledge of the health care workers at theoperational levels on AFP surveillance. The state ministry of healthand the WHO consultants should also provide all essential documentsrequired for quality AFP surveillance and ensure their judicious use.
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