World Health Organization (WHO) is set to formally announce delisting of Nigeria as a polio endemic country on October 26, 2015, preparatory for attaining certification by 2017.
The event, which is billed to take place inside Aso-Villa, Abuja, with President Muhammadu Buhari in attendance, will see Nigeria hosting the Director-General of WHO, Dr. Margaret Chan, represented by WHO Regional Director for Africa, Dr. Matshidiso R. Moeti.
“The Regional Director will meet with Mr. President to formally announce to the Government of Nigeria the WHO’s decision to remove Nigeria from the list of Polio endemic countries, as a recognition of the immediate achievement of Nigeria in stopping the transmission of the Wild Polio Virus for a period of fourteen months, which has exceeded WHO’s target for interruption”, disclosed Mr. Linus Awute, Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Health, in a statement.
According to the statement, President Buhari will interface with the High Level Advocacy Team on Poliomyelitis, headed by the Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Health, during the programme to emphasize his administration’s determination to “provide the necessary oversight over the Programme to ensure no child ever gets paralyzed again by Wild Polio Virus”.
The presidency, the statement adds, has therefore directed the Federal Ministry of Health and its Agency to come up with programme elements that would sustain the gains and maintain the momentum towards achieving a final certification. “Consequently, the National Primary Health Care Development Agency (NPHCDA), under the leadership of the Federal Ministry of Health, has developed a robust Polio Emergency Plan with corresponding roadmap detailing strategies to sustain the achievement”, Awute disclosed.
According to the Executive Director, NPHCDA, Dr. Ado Muhammad, “the Programme will continue to carry out high quality Polio campaigns, intensify routine immunization and enhance surveillance system, all aimed at sustaining the Polio zero case status of the Country”.
By Olisemeka Obeche