There are strong indications that Nigeria may attain the status of being free of polio by March 2020 going by the efforts being put by different players in the fight to eradicate the disease in the country, according to UNICEF’s Bauchi Chief Field Officer, Mr Bhanu Pathak.
Pathak, who stated this in an interview with DAILY INDEPENDENT during a two-day Government-UNICEF End of Year Review Meeting for Adamawa, Gombe and Taraba states, said there was the possibility that by March 2020, polio would be eradicated from Nigeria.
According to him, “A lot of things have been done in the areas, as a result, we do not have active poliovirus in recent years, I think in the last five to six years because the government and other agencies have been working hard to get Nigeria certified as a polio-free country.”
He said though the achievement might not be 100 per cent due to some factors such as ‘hard to reach’ areas, as well as insecurity challenges, limitations in capacity and resources, there was the need to maintain and continue the current progress.
His words: “I will like to congratulate Nigeria and thank everyone, from community volunteers to policymakers, who have worked very hard towards this achievement. There are quite a number of teams that are responsible for providing immunisation services for children, including polio and there are many community-based volunteers in their thousands trying to reach unentered and hard to reach areas. So far, we are very proud we have positive results coming in.”
He encouraged that the progress made should be maintained and even continued adding, “We should not stop because we have achieved something otherwise, it will relapse and we will be in trouble again.”
Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, Rotary International, WHO, UNICEF among many others, play major roles in the eradication of polio, but UNICEF said it had been an active partner because child survival and welfare are its primary mandate.
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