In support of an eventual eradication of polio in Nigeria, The World Bank has approved an International Development Association (IDA) credit of US$95 million for the Nigeria Polio Eradication Support Project, which will help the country to achieve and sustain at least 80 per cent immunisation across all states of the federation.
The project is expected to finance at least 655 million doses of oral polio vaccine for children under age five, with a special focus on northern states, where polio is more prevalent. The World Bank has worked with Nigeria’s National Primary Health Care Agency since 2003 to ensure timely vaccine supply.
As part of a worldwide drive to eradicate polio, this effort builds on Nigeria’s strong performance in recent years, with the number of polio cases falling from 1,100 in 2006 to 62 in 2011. Nigeria is one of the last three countries in the world where polio is endemic, the others being Afghanistan and Pakistan.
The project continues a “buy-down” arrangement by which the Gates Foundation, the US Centre for Diseases Control and Prevention, and Rotary International (via the UN Foundation), will repay the loan’s present value when pre-agreed results are met.
Of the World Bank’s lending commitments to Nigeria for polio from 2003 to 2012 (a total of $195 million) Nigeria has already qualified for a 70 per cent buy-down.
“Eradication of polio is now within reach in Nigeria. So we must keep up the momentum to defeat this dreaded disease once and for all.
Also, we must take in the main lesson from Nigeria’s success against polio, which is that improving outreach and closely involving communities will help build a stronger national health system,” said Marie Francoise Marie-Nelly, World Bank’s country director for Nigeria.