Rotary International Polio Ambassador to Nigeria, Sir Emeka Offor has stressed the need for the nation to bolster efforts to sustain the eradication of wild polio in Nigeria as the nation celebrates two years since the last reported case in the country.
Offor also encouraged Nigeria to double its momentum towards continuous immunization, rapid outbreak response, enhanced surveillance, fundraising, awareness, and advocacy.
In a statement made available to newsmen yesterday in Abuja signed by the founder of Sir Emeka Offor Foundation (SEOF), Offor renewed his pledge to support the total eradication of polio in the world.
The businessman and philanthropist said with the rollout of the Novel Oral Polio Vaccine in Nigeria, he is confident that vaccine-derived polio cases would significantly reduce and bring us closer to ending polio in its entirety.
The statement reads in part: “It gives me great honour and a sense of fulfillment to celebrate our second World Polio Day as a polio-free Nation. Through our collective efforts, dedication and commitment, we have sustained the tempo and remained free from Wild Polio Virus for two consecutive years since this status was attained.
“Remarkably, today is a special moment for the Rotary family in Nigeria. It is an event to celebrate the quintessential dedication of our Rotary Clubs, Rotaract Clubs, local partners, Traditional Institutions, and International Organizations, that have joined hands to champion the eradication of Polio in our country.
“In my role as the Rotary International Polio Ambassador to Nigeria and working in partnership with Sir Emeka Offor Foundation, The Rotary Foundation, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, and the Nigerian National Polio Plus Committee of Rotary International chaired by PDG Joshua Hassan, we have also been able to provide leadership, financial interventions, and significant resources to facilitate critical phases of the Polio Eradication programme in Nigeria and globally.”
He also paid a special tribute to all frontline health workers, especially fallen heroes, whose indefatigable commitments ensured that the Polio Vaccines got to “every last Nigerian child”, especially those in the far-reaching regions of the country.
“I equally commend the outstanding political will of His Excellency, President Muhammadu Buhari, as well as the implementation strategies of the Federal Ministry of Health, which have in no little measure supported the ongoing fight against Polio in Nigeria.
“As we celebrate this year’s World Polio Day, I invite us to reflect on our main job – ‘Keep Polio at Zero’ in Nigeria. With the re-emergence of vaccine-derived polio cases in Nigeria, as well as in regions of Malawi, Mozambique, Israel, and the USA, there is a great need to remain vigilant. We cannot afford to let our efforts of many decades be in vain,” he said.