Nigerian President, Alhaji Muhammadu Buhari, has applauded the attainment of two straight years without wild polio virus in the country, reports NaijaAgroNet.
President Buhari was reacting to the milestone recently achieved under the auspices of the Presidential Task Force on Polio Eradication, declaring, “This is a historic moment that has brought Africa and the world the closest it has ever been to eradicating this devastating disease. But our job is not yet done.”
“We must protect the gains we have made and stay on course to tackle the challenges that remain in eliminating polio for good.” He added that the Federal Government will “continue to provide the needed oversight and resources to achieve polio eradication in 2017,” he said.
A press statement made available to NaijaAgroNet signed by the Executive Director, National Primary Health Care Development Agency (NPHCDA), Dr. Ado J.G. Muhammad quoted the Nigeria’s Minister of Health, Professor Isaac Folorunso Adewole, as assured that the Federal Government is committed to building resilience by “getting people out of their comfort zones to further enhance the quality of polio campaigns, reach children in difficult areas and continue to improve routine immunization.”
Muhammad also said that efforts are ongoing to close the remaining surveillance gaps in the programme, including “increasing environmental surveillance sites and community informants across the country.”
The World Health Organisation (WHO) acting representative for Nigeria, Dr. Rex Mapazanje, said the National Laboratories in Nigeria have been vigilant in monitoring for polio cases, stressing “We must continue to be on alert for any sign of the virus through heightened surveillance, particularly in the vulnerable populations including insurgency-hit areas of northeast Nigeria and the adjoining areas of Cameroon, Chad and Niger.”
The United Nations Children Fund (UNICEF) Country Representative in Nigeria, Jean Gough, pointed out that achieving a polio-free Africa will bring Nigeria closer than ever to a polio-free world, but that success should not be taken for granted.
“We must continue to work together with all partners, in particular with the traditional institutions at all levels, to ensure we reach every child so we can relegate this paralysing disease to history forever,” he said.
NaijaAgroNet recalls that the Global Polio Eradication Initiative (GPEI) is a public-private partnership leading the effort to eradicate polio, applauded the commitment of tens of thousands of people – including Nigerian officials at all levels, UN and NGO partners, health workers, and community leaders and volunteers in keeping polio out of Nigeria for the past two years.
Pix: President Mohammadu Buhari of Nigeria.