President Muhammadu Buhari has expressed delight over Nigeria’s efforts in registering zero case of wild poliovirus in the last two years.
Consequently, Buhari in a statement issued in Abuja, commended stakeholders for making “this historic achievement possible’’.
Mr Femi Adesina, the president’s Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, said Buhari made the remark to mark Nigeria’s two years of zero wild poliovirus reported case.
Buhari congratulated all those who had worked tirelessly to maintain the effort and permanently halt new polio cases in the country.
According to him, the next major milestone for the country is the certification of polio-free status in 2017 by the World Health Organisation (WHO).
“This administration remains firm in its commitment towards making this a reality by continuing to support in every way possible, routine immunisation and the revitalisation of primary health care system.
“As a nation, we are cooperating with international public and private partners to ensure that in our lifetime our children do not suffer from this crippling disease again.
“We recognise the power of global partnership to achieve a polio-free world and Nigeria will continue to honour its commitment to ensure that this disease is wiped off the face of the earth for good,’’ he said.
Buhari pledged to ensure that Nigerian children were protected against vaccine-preventable diseases in spite of the current socio-economic challenges facing the country.
He further assured that the Federal Government would continue to do its best to ensure timely release of funds required for polio eradication programme.
“In the last 14-months since this administration came into office, we have had a number of challenges in the drive to eradicate polio.
“The downturn in the economy, the frequent disruption of services by health workers, the insecurity in some of the 11 polio high risk states, are just some of the rivers we must cross to achieve our objective and protect our children against this vaccine-preventable disease.
“We will continue to do our best to ensure timely release of funds required for polio eradication programme.’’
According to him, the good health and well-being of Nigerian children remain an important part of his administration’s drive to national development.
He said: “We have demonstrated our strong commitment in this regard with the allocation of N12.6 billion in the 2016 budget for vaccines and programmes to prevent childhood killer diseases such as polio, measles, yellow fever and others.’’
Buhari said that the federal government would encourage leaders in the states and local governments to continue to provide direction, supervision and improved surveillance activities.
The president applauded the immense support of religious and traditional rulers in making the country poliovirus-free.
He also thanked the nation’s development partners, particularly WHO, UNICEF, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Aliko Dangote Foundation, USAID, US-Centre for Disease Control, Rotary International, and others, who contributed financially and materially to this effort.
He noted that the task of polio eradication was a collective effort that required the support of all communities including parents, guardians, teachers, health workers, international partners and leaders.
“These are critical as we collaborate towards ensuring that polio moves closer to extinction in Nigeria and by extension on the African continent.’’
Buhari pledged that his administration would improve the nation’s healthcare system for the benefits of Nigerians, particularly the poor and the vulnerable in the society.
“A year ago when Nigeria was delisted as a polio endemic country, I remarked that our fight against other communicable and non-communicable diseases must be anchored on a strong health system.
“I am pleased that the National Health Act has made provision for universal access to basic healthcare with a focus on the poor and the vulnerable as well as the basic healthcare provision funds to support its implementation.
“This government intends to improve the whole field of Medicare during our term of office,’’ said the president.