Aidoghie Paulinus, Abuja
Rotary International Polio Ambassador to Nigeria and Founder, Sir Emeka Offor Foundation (SEOF), Sir Emeka Offor, has congratulated Nigeria for its polio free certification by the World Health Organisation (WHO).
Offor however said Nigeria must do its best to sustain the momentum and keep polio at zero while awaiting the regional certification of Africa in August, 2020.
Offor, in a statement made available to Saturday Sun in Abuja, joined millions of Nigerians in celebrating what he termed “this great achievement.”
“I am delighted with the great news of Nigeria’s claim of Wild Polio-free status being accepted by Africa’s Regional Certification Committee of the World Health Organization (WHO). I join millions of Nigerians in celebrating this great achievement.
“For more than a century, polio has continued to ravage the whole world. In 1988 alone, about 350,000 cases of polio were estimated in 125 countries. Today, History has been made in our country with this pronouncement,” Offor said.
Offor recalled that in 2013, he pledged to continue the work of polio eradication till Nigeria and the world is polio-free.
“I am happy to see that this promise is beginning to materialise. At the Sir Emeka Offor Foundation, we have made concerted efforts in partnership with Rotary International to drive public awareness campaigns, immunisation outreaches, advocacy and successful fundraising within Nigeria and abroad, for polio eradication.
“My foundation has equally committed financial interventions of over 10 million USD with matching grants from Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation towards this great fight,” Offor also said.
Offor expressed gratitude to President Muhammadu Buhari and the Federal Government for their leadership roles, even as he specially appreciated the foundation’s great partners namely: Rotary International and The Rotary Foundation, the Nigeria National PolioPlus Committee, the Federal Ministry of Health, the National Primary Health Care Development Agency, Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, Andrew Young Foundation, the Traditional Institution, especially His Eminence, the Sultan of Sokoto; the Nigerian Rotary Family, all Health workers, volunteers and supporters of the commendable cause.
“In conclusion, as the Rotary International Polio Ambassador to Nigeria, I ask that the main job starts now. While we rejoice, we must continue surveillance, advocacy, routine immunisation, field supervision and maintenance of personal hygiene.
“Notwithstanding the COVID-19 Pandemic, we must do our best to sustain the momentum and keep polio at zero as we await the regional certification of Africa in August 2020.
“Congratulations Nigeria, the fight is almost over!” Offor declared.