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Nigeria Kicks Out Polio!

Medic-ALL(09:28:2015) GLOBAL HEALTH

In what has been described as a historical achievement for global health by the Global Polio Eradication Initiative, Nigeria was last Friday declared free of Polio by the World Health organization and subsequently removed from the Polio-Endemic List, leaving Pakistan and Afghanistan as the two countries in the world that have never been free of the disease. (Read Polio: The "PAN" and the"PAIN").

Nigeria has not reported a case of wild poliovirus since 24 July 2014, and all laboratory data have confirmed a full 12 months have passed without any new cases. Health officials have described this as a major victory in the fight to rid the world of polio. The World Health Organization records show that as recently as 2012, Nigeria accounted for more than half of all polio cases worldwide.

Since then however , there appeared to be collaborative effort by all levels of government, civil society, religious leaders and tens of thousands of dedicated health workers which resulted in one of the world's most populous nations successfully stopping the disease. More than 200 000 volunteers across the country repeatedly immunized more than 45 million children under the age of 5 years, to ensure that no child would suffer from this paralysing disease. Innovative approaches, such as increased community involvement and the establishment of Emergency Operations Centres at the national and state level, have also been pivotal to Nigeria’s success.

In a statement by Dr Matshidiso Moeti, WHO Regional Director for Africa “Stopping polio in Nigeria has been a clear example that political engagement, strong partnerships and community engagement are the engines that drive the momentum of public health programmes, enabling them to achieve great things. I would like to congratulate everyone, particularly political, religious and community leaders in Nigeria and across Africa, for reaching a year without cases of wild polio.”

Certainly the victory over Polio in Nigeria would not have been possible without the support and commitment of donors and development partners. Such continued support, along with continued domestic funding from Nigeria, will be essential to keep Nigeria and the entire region polio-free, keeping in mind the vulnerable nations in the region( See Polio:The "PAN" and the "PAIN").

The World Health Organization, through her Director-General, Dr. Margaret Chan praised the commitments and efforts that got Nigeria off the Polio-Endemic list whilst reiterating the need for supportive efforts to be rendered to Pakistan and Afghanistan.

Eradicating polio will be one of the greatest achievements in human history, and have a positive impact on global health for generations to come. Nigeria has brought the world one major step closer to achieving this goal and it’s critical that the world seizes this opportunity to end polio for good and ensure future generations of children all over the world are free from this devastating disease.

Source: WHO Media Centre

See Also  Polio:The "PAN" and the "PAIN"

Medic-ALL.Inc 2015

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