SWITZERLAND, AUGUST 26 – President Muhammadu Buhari has stated that the certification of Nigeria’s Wild Polio-Free status is the fulfilment of a pledge he made to Nigerians to eradicate the disease. The president said this in a statement on Tuesday, shortly after the World Health Organization (WHO) lauded Nigeria and other African countries for defeating the disease, forty years after successfully battling the Smallpox.
In a statement sent to Today’s Echo on Tuesday, WHO Director-General Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said:
“Ending wild polio virus in Africa is one of the greatest public health achievements of our time and provides powerful inspiration for all of us to finish the job of eradicating polio globally. I thank and congratulate the governments, health workers, community volunteers, traditional and religious leaders and parents across the region who have worked together to kick wild polio out of Africa.”
Shortly after, President Buhari tweeted:
“I recall that shortly after assuming office in May 2015, I made a pledge to Nigerians that I would not bequeath a polio-endemic country to my successor. Today’s certification of our Wild Polio-Free status is in fulfillment of that pledge to not only Nigerians,but to all Africans.
“We must guard this achievement of the eradication of Wild Polio Virus in Africa jealously and ensure that we take all necessary steps to prevent a resurgence of this disease.
“I commend the decades of hard work and resilience of health workers and volunteers across Africa, and Ministers of Health and other stakeholders —political, traditional, religious and community leaders who provided the required support and leadership.
“Let me also appreciate the invaluable support of our donors, development and local partners: @WHO, @UNICEF, @Rotary, @gatesfoundation, Aliko Dangote Foundation, @CDCgov, @gavi, @USAID, EU, Emeka Offor Foundation, Japanese & German Govts, numerous NGOs & faith-based organizations.
“These are truly the heroes and heroines of many battles that have made us triumphant in the war against polio.
“We must continue to build trust between Government institutions, leaders and citizens, so that we can unite as a people and confront the health and socio-economic challenges we face together.”