Recently, the World Health Organisation (WHO) announced that Nigeria has not recorded a single case of poliomyelitis (polio) since July 24, 2014, thereby pronouncing the country victorious in the fight against the dreaded disease that has plagued it for years.
The organisation stated that Nigeria has been officially removed from the list of countries where polio is endemic.
According to the statement issued by the reputable body, “It’s been 14 months since any cases of polio caused by the wild virus have been detected there.”
“With Nigeria’s historic achievement, polio remains endemic in only two countries; Afghanistan and Pakistan,’’ it stated.
So, on July 24, 2015, Nigeria celebrates one year without the crippling Polio Virus knocking down another child, the longest it has gone without recording a case.
The nation’s polio eradication efforts were carried out by the previous administration, which was also applauded by the richest man in the world- Bill Gates.
Efforts are being made by the present administration in Nigeria to ensure that the country is declared polio-free in 2017. We must put all our efforts to achieve this milestone for the sake of our children, future generations and the overall health and well being of the nation., the President asserted.
Health experts, nonetheless, opine that eradication of polio globally would depend primarily on stopping the disease in Pakistan and Afghanistan, insisting that as long as polio exists anywhere, it is a threat to children everywhere.
However, Nigeria’s chairman of the Expert Review Committee on Polio Eradication, Oyewale Tomori, pointed that for one that has battled the virus for 20 years, he reminded Nigerians that the country almost kicked out polio once, only to fall back during elections in 2007 and 2011 when money was squandered on political campaigns at the expense of vaccinations.
But an analyst, Jennifer Cooke, said that since 1988, the Global Polio Eradication Initiative (GPEI) an international partnership of government and private institutions has reduced the number of reported polio cases worldwide by more than 99 per cent.
Beyond foreign interventions on the fight against polio, medical experts insist that stakeholders should made concerted efforts to sustain the success of the country in that regard.
According to them, Nigeria has brought the world one major step closer to achieving total polio-eradication globally and it is critical that stakeholders use the opportunity and ensure that future generations are free from polio.
At any rate, Nigeria still has two more years before it can be certified officially polio-free by the World Health Organisation, WHO. Provided transmission is interrupted entirely and sudden flare-ups and reversals are kept in check.
The journey continues to make Nigeria a Polio Free Nation by 2017.