The World Health Organisation (WHO) has called for caution, even as Nigeria celebrates Wild Polio Virus (WPV) eradication certification. Country Representative, Dr Walter Kazadi made this call at a press conference on the celebration, in conjunction with the Ministry of Health and global stakeholders of the National Primary Health Care Development Agency (NPHCDA) on Thursday in Abuja.
According to News Agency of Nigeria, the African Regional Commission for Certification of Polio Eradication (ARCC), a WHO organ, has accepted Nigeria’s Wild Polio Virus Free Documentation after 30 years. Nigeria achieved this feat after meeting all the criteria for certification, which include three years of non-detection of the virus.
Kazadi said that Nigeria must also strengthen its disease surveillance system to ensure there is no importation of WPV to the country. He added that the certification is a convincing indication that Nigeria and other African countries could accomplish set goals when they are backed by strong political commitment.
“Nigeria’s battle with wild polio has been long and complex. I, therefore, commend the government for the steadfast commitment in leading a massive national effort over the past couple of decades.
“The leadership of the Presidential Task Force facilitated oversight of the programme at the highest level, drawing on necessary resources and holding states accountable for their responsibilities”, he said.
Alhaji Salihu Aliero, the Chairman of the Governing Board of NPHCDA, congratulated staff of the agency under the leadership of Dr Faisal Shuaib for an excellent job done. He said: “Congratulations for all the giant strides made possible by the minister of health. We appreciate and commend the vision of President Muhammadu Buhari for setting up the task force on polio in Nigeria.”
In his remarks, the NPHCDA boss said Nigeria got to its current position through formidable partnership. He said: “President Buhari in 2016 showed remarkable leadership by approving the release of N9.8 billion to eradicate polio.
“The sacrifices made by health workers who paid the supreme price has not gone in vain. Today and always, we say thank you. Variable progress was made when traditional, religious and community leaders joined the fight against polio eradication in Nigeria.
“Today is a new dawn for all primary healthcare workers in Nigeria. We will use the polio eradication structure to flatten the Coronavirus (COVID-19) curve in the country.” “We have started training over 200,000 healthcare workers. We know the work is not yet done. We must sustain the glory of polio eradicating in Nigeria.”