On 21st August 2019, Nigeria marked three years without any case of wild Poliovirus. Nigeria has so far gone three years without any child being paralyzed by the wild polio virus. This achievement is the 1st of 3 milestones necessary to be declared free of the disease. The Global Polio Eradication Initiative (GPEI) stakeholders along with other partners and donors met at the Conference Hall of Sheraton Hotel Abuja to mark this very important milestone for Nigeria. The partnership has agreed there should be no celebration on this milestone.
This is to ensure we don’t encourage complacency but continue the fight towards polio eradication. Rotary International Polio Ambassador to Nigeria, Sir Dr. Emeka Offor at the occasion in his goodwill message, commended stakeholders including Health Workers in the field who risk their lives especially in places affected by insurgency to ensure every Nigerian child gets immunized. He however reiterated that his Foundation will continue to give all the necessary support to fight against polio. Sir Emeka Offor Foundation is one of the stakeholders in the fight against polio and still remains the highest African donor to Rotary International towards eradication of polio.
He was accompanied by Ambassador Andrew J. Young (Former US Ambassador to the UN) who also shared the United States success story in eradicating Polio while also commending Nigeria, the partners and donors for their relentless efforts. If the current status is sustained through combined efforts of all stakeholders, African region will be declared polio free by World Health organization in March 2020. All the activities of advocacy, awareness creation, fund raising, immunization and field supervision will continue with all seriousness and focus, until we are completely free from poliovirus. Nigeria is the last polio endemic nation in Africa and this calls for continued commitment by Rotary International, support from organizations like Sir Emeka Offor Foundation, Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and government intervention whenever needed.