TUESDAY, SEPTEMBER 27, 2016

World Bank financially supports eliminating polio in Nigeria

World Bank financial supports eliminating polio in Nigeria | Courtesy of worldatlas.com
The World Bank Group's Board of Executive Directors recently approved $200 million from the International Development Association to financially support eliminating polio and sustaining routine vaccinations in Nigeria for children under 5 years old and women of childbearing age.

Since July, Nigeria has reported zero new polio cases, marking a significant step in the country’s goal to eliminate polio. Nigeria will be further assisted through World Bank funds to promote a 2012 polio eradication project.

“Eradicating polio is a global public good because of its epidemic potential and devastating impact on children and adults,” polio eradication support project leader Oluwole Odutolu said. “Polio remains a lethal and crippling disease that is entirely preventable, and ending it makes the world a safer place for all children.”

If Nigeria can sustain five more months with no new polio cases, the country will have officially reached a significant marker in eliminating polio: interrupted transmission.

“With no new cases of polio in Africa, efforts to interrupt transmission of polio as part of the Global Polio Eradication Initiative are looking extremely promising,” World Bank Group senior director for health, nutrition and population Tim Evans said. “However, polio anywhere is a threat everywhere. As we reach the finish line in Nigeria, we must also focus on getting to zero new polio cases in Afghanistan and Pakistan.”

Hamid Jafari, head of the Global Polio Eradication Initiative, said the World Bank contribution comes at a critical time to help Nigeria sustain its strong progress against polio eradication.

“This investment in Nigeria and further investment in Afghanistan and Pakistan will help galvanize support and strengthen routine immunization of children, particularly building on the lessons learned from polio eradication in these countries,” Jafari said.

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