As a strategy to kick polio out of the Federal Capital Territory, FCT, and Nigeria, the FCT Primary Health Care Board has trained a hand-full of Fulanis and Ardos as vaccinators to participate in the on-going routine polio immunization exercise in all the Area Councils in the capital city.
The Executive Secretary of the Board Dr. Rilwanu Muhammed disclosed this in Abuja yesterday during the Advocacy and Sensitization meeting with the FCT Normadic population on polio outbreak response.
Mohammed said that it was necessary to train some Fulanis as vaccinators in order to break the language barrier between non- Fulani vaccinators so that they can be sensitized and accepted during routine immunization exercises in the capital city.
He said,’we invited the Fulani mobile community in FCT is because of the polio outbreak in the country in Borno State, we want to have one person from each of these Fulani settlements and their Ardos to train them this time around because we are starting our immunization in FCT.
We have invited the Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeders Association and Cattle Breeders Association and the Ardos in the FCT in order to discuss with them and to enlighten them about immunization and other health seeking behaviours.
FCT is high risk area so we don’t want to take any chance since people are coming into the city and going out we have to immunize every child. This is segment that is giving us challenge that’s why we invited them.’’
We have 48 Fulani schools and many unrecorded settlements which we do not know so we have to penetrate their settlements.
He said that since there are about 48 Fulani schools in the FCT, there is the need to enjoin them to accept immunization programmes and to come in to carry out our routine immunizations whenever it is carried out.
For the first time we are going to train Fulanis as vaccinators to make sure that they vaccinate all their people because they can speak their language and their people can understand them. We want to kick polio out of this country so we want the support of the Fulanis, he explained.
FCT Secretary General of Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeders Association, Usman Abubakar, said that the Fulanis are willing to partner with government on immunization programmes in the FCT.
He said, ‘’We Fulanis are people who are considered to live in the bush and we are likely to be first agents of this disease, they have called us to enlighten us and sensitize us and also so we can go and enlighten our people.’’
Abubakar noted in times past the Fulanis had misunderstood what polio is all about, saying that according to our tradition we used to think that polio is a demon or a genie and not a virus.
He stressed that with the insurgency and influx of Internally Displaced Persons in Abuja there is the need for the Fulanis to collaborate and support to see that FCT, Nigeria and Africa is free of polio.
The mistake is that most times they do not include us in the polio exercise, we have educated people amongst us like Diploma, NCE Holders, if they want to succeed in FCT they should include the Fulani people in the exercise so whenever they go into a house they can have somebody who can speak the same language, dialect to talk and explain to them so they would stop running from them, adding that this is the first time the FCT Primary Health Care has invited them for such collaboration.
“We are calling on all our Fulani communities to comply with people by distributing these vaccines so that we can live in a free and safe environment’’, Abubakar said.

READ ALSO  Passenger dies on flight from Israel to New York