Rotary International Polio Ambassador to Nigeria, Sir Emeka Offor, has charged stakeholders to continue to work hard and collaborate to ensure that the successes recorded in the fight against polio over the years are sustained.
He gave the charge while responding to questions from journalists during the celebration of the World Polio Day in Abuja on Thursday, October 24, 2019.
He congratulated Nigeria for marking three years without recording a case of Wild Polio Virus (WPV) in any part of the country.
It will be recalled Nigeria clocked three years in August 21, 2019, without recording any case of Wild Polio Virus (WPV).
In the next few months, if the current tempo is sustained, the World Health Organisation (WHO) will certify Nigeria polio free.
The call for collaboration and hard work by stakeholders became necessary because, in August 11, 2016, Nigeria suffered a major setback to the global campaign to eradicate polio, as cases of wild poliovirus emerged after more than two years of zero case in the country.
Dr. Offor, who is also the Founder, Sir Emeka Offor Foundation (SEOF), said: “As we mark the day, we shall not forget that as a country, we are very close to being declared a Wild Polio Free country by the WHO.
“The remaining milestone requires a lot of
hard work, team collaboration and cooperation by all stakeholders in order to
actualise the dream.
“I wish to commend the Rotary International, WHO, Nigerian government and its ministries, departments and agencies for the commitment, zeal they have put in so far. Similarly, all health workers, volunteers, Rotarians and supporters of this worthy course require special commendation.”
He, however, vowed that his Foundation “shall continue to engage in sustainable ventures and endeavours that will drive the progress of this fight against Polio in all its ramifications.”
As part of activities to mark the world polio day, Sir Emeka Offor unveiled a Polio billboard his Foundation sponsored.
The billboard is located by the Pedestrian Bridge Police signpost, Lugbe, Airport Road.
Speaking during the unveiling ceremony, Governor, Rotary International, District 9125, Victor Onukwugha, disclosed that Emeka Offor Foundation remains the greatest donor in Africa.
“We want to erect the bill boards in locations that will make impact. The foundation has donated $4 million to this course and remains the greatest donor in Africa for this course.
“In the height of insurgence in the North East, Rotary went into the war front to immunise children in the Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) camps and were accompanied by the Joint Task Force.”
He, however, called for intense surveillance so that the country will not record any new case of the WPV.
On her part, former Assistant Governor, Rotary International, Evelyn Onyilo, noted that ending polio in Nigeria would save the country from the problem of having crippled children.
She said: “This is because some of the dangers of polio are that it turns children to cripples and handicaps.
“We cannot afford to see our children suffer like that. We want healthy children and healthy nation. We want to depopulate the issue of physically challenged people in Nigeria.
“You cannot quantify that, it means we will have more productive people in the country, more healthy people and healthier country.
“Polio is a disease that affects mostly children from zero to 5 years. That is why immunization is done periodically to make sure that polio is eradicated.
“Here in Nigerian there has been no incident of polio virus since the past three years. It means we will soon be certified by the WHO as a country that is polio free.”