By Chidinma Chukwu, Abuja.
Following the certification of the African region to be free of wild polio virus, development partners and donor agencies have enjoin the Federal government to ensure continuous routine immunization to sustain its feat in polio eradication.
Partners like, Gavi Vaccine Alliance, World Health Organisation (WHO), United Nations Children Fund (UNICEF), United States Agency for International Development (USAID, Rotary International among others gave the advice at a world press conference to celebrate the Nigeria polio eradication certification in Abuja on Thursday.
Commending the federal government for the battle won, they expressed commitment to support Nigeria build on its success and close the immunity gap through a strong routine immunisation and primary health care system.
The Conference has the theme ‘ Keep Polio at Zero’.
Recall that the entire Africa continent was certified polio free on the 25 of August 2020 after thorough analysis and verification of documentation by the African Regional Commission Committee (ARCC).
ARCC is an independent body of public health experts appointed by the World Health Organisation to review and assess evidence presented by Nigeria.
Minister of health, Osagie Ehanire who noted that the achievement was made possible due to the joint commitment of government at all levels and development partners said the country must be vigilant to avoid resurgence of wild polio virus.
Osagie said Africa region is totally free as neighboring countries are yet to eradicate polio. He stressed the need for an increased surveillance system in the borders of the country.
He further advised that lessons learnt from the struggle be deployed to the primary health care network to eradicate all vaccine preventable diseases.
Also, Minister of State for Health, Dr Olorunnimbe Mamora said Nigeria being certified polio free is a great relief from the worries of the coronavirus pandemic.
Executive Director, National Primary Health Care Development Agency, Dr Faisal Shuaib commended partners and donors agencies for their joint effort in eradicating polio in the country.
Shuaib thanked the Northern traditional and religious leaders for their support in sensitising the people of the region on the importance of vaccinating children.
He assured that his office will work towards ensuring that this achievement is sustained.
The polio eradication fight in the Africa region was launched in 1996 by president Nelson Mandela of South Africa.