Nigeria's Exit from the List of Polio-Endemic Countries is a Big Achievement
By Abubakar Mohammed
Nigeria exit from the list of Polio-endemic countries is a big achievement for which Government, Health Workers, and Partners all over the world deserve commendation. The delisting of Nigeria by World Health Organization (WHO) is a reward for all efforts put by all stakeholders in to the battle against polio in the country. In Adamawa state, we must congratulate the State Government, Ministry of Health and State Primary Health Care Development Agency and PHC Authorities on this welcome development.
Until recently, Nigeria is one of the three countries formally identified as polio-endemic country in the world. The country share this inglorious status with Pakistan and Afghanistan which are now the only two countries still battling with the diseases.
All records from World Health Organization (WHO) dashboard shows that as at 2012, Nigeria accounted for more than half of all cases in the world. But, the country has not experienced any incidence of the infection for over one year which resulted in the delisting; with the interruption of the transmission of the virus in the country, WHO has said that “Nigeria is closer to being certified as polio-free nation” though we will still wait for another two years before the country can be fully certified polio-free by the Global Health Agency. All the same we wish and hope that certification can be achieved by sustaining the earlier initiatives that made this delisting possible.
For reaching this developmental milestone, we must recognized and praise the efforts of Federal Ministry Of Health, National Primary Health Care Development Agency at national level and State levels of Health, Primary Health Care Development Agencies and all our partners for contributing positively toward this worthy cause.
We also applaud the painstaking efforts of our Traditional and Religious Leaders, Civil Society Organization, and Thousands of dedicated Health Workers across the country who repeatedly immunized over 45 million children under the age of five to ensure that no child in the Nigeria will suffer from the disease again.
While it is good to celebrate this important historic achievement, it should not lead to complacency on the part of our health authorities because the battle against the virus is not yet over; rather than resting on our oars, we should re-double our efforts to ensure that wild polio virus does not resurface in this Country again. The situation we found ourselves today calls for more intensified mop up and timely routine immunization of all eligible children in the state and country at large.
The goal now is to certified Nigeria as polio-free Country comes 2017; therefore no stone should be left unturned until this objective is fully achieved.