WHO Declares Nigeria Polio Free

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SWITZERLAND, JUNE 19 – The World Health Organization (WHO) has declared Nigeria Polio-free. The health agency revealed this on the official Twitter handle of its regional office for Africa in Brazzaville, Congo, @WHOAFRO.

This leaves the devastating disease endemic in only two countries of the world; Afghanistan and Pakistan.

“Today, Nigeria’s complete documentation for Wild Polio virus free status was accepted by the Africa Regional Certification Commission for polio eradication (ARCC).

“It is a historic day for Nigeria, Africa and the Global Polio Programme,’’ WHO said.

Meanwhile, Faisal Shuaib, Executive Director and CEO of the National Primary Health Care Development Agency (NPHCDA), in a tweet at @drfaisalshuaib described the documentation as historical.

“Amazing moment in history to have had our polio-eradication documentation accepted by (ARCC); the Nigeria team led by NPHCDA and partners demonstrated evidence of our polio-free status.

“Nigeria achieving a Wild Polio Virus-free status today, is significant on multiple fronts.

“I look back at the incredible leadership that has brought us here,” he said.

Since 1988 when the World Health Assembly first declared the virus a disease of international concern that must be eradicated by year 2000, the incidence of polio has been reduced by more than 99 percent, according to WHO statistics.

At the time, more than 350,000 children were paralysed every year in more than 125 endemic countries, with Nigeria sharing a chunk of this statistics.

As recent as 2012, Nigeria accounted for more than half of all polio cases worldwide, according to WHO.

The country has however since the last three years not recorded a case of the virus until it was Thursday declared polio free.

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