SUNDAY, MARCH 18, 2018

WHO says polio no longer endemic in Nigeria

The World Health Organization (WHO) announced Sept. 25 that polio is no longer endemic in Nigeria.

This is largely attributable to the Global Polio Eradication Initiative (GPEI), a public-private partnership leading the effort to eradicate polio.

A case of polio has not been reported in Nigeria since July 24, 2014, but as recently as 2012, Nigeria accounted for more than half of all polio cases in the world. 

Over the past few years, more than 200,000 volunteers working across Nigeria helped with efforts to immunize more than 45 million children under the age of 5 against polio. There has also been increased community involvement and the establishment of emergency operations centers at the national and state levels.

“With local innovation and national persistence, we have beaten polio," National Primary Health Care Development Agency, Nigeria Executive Director Ado Muhammad said.

WHO Regional Director for Africa Matshidiso Moeti agreed.

“Stopping polio in Nigeria has been a clear example that political engagement, strong partnerships and community engagement are the engines that drive the momentum of public health programs, enabling them to achieve great things," he said.

Polio has been eliminated nearly everywhere in the world after a 25-year concerted international effort. Polio remains endemic in only Pakistan and Afghanistan. 

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World Health Organization

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