NIGERIA is about three months away from being certified as polio-free as the government has implemented World Health Organisation (Who) recommendations put together to help eradicate the disease.
Currently, Nigeria, Pakistan and Afghanistan the world’s three nations most badly afflicted with polio and an international campaign has been launched to address the problem. Nigerian National Polio Plus Committee, Dr Tunji Funsho, said that by August this year, Nigeria would have done three years without recording an outbreak of the disease, a prerequisite for Who certification of the country as polio free.
Speaking in Abuja at the unveiling of musicians Pyno and Timaya as polio ambassadors, Dr Funsho noted that Nigeria would be saving about $50bn in 10 years’ time if it is able to get polio free certification. Currently, the country is spending about $50m on polio treatment annually.
Dr Funsho added: “By August ending, an expert committee will come and certify Nigeria as polio free. By September, Nigeria will be declared polio-free after three years that we have not had polio cases, which is since September 2016.
“If federal government has a budget on polio eradication, it has been on the average of $50m. The last budget was slashed drastically but it has now gone back to $50m, so if you convert that to 10 years, it is a lot of money.”
District Governor of Rotary International, District 9125, Nigeria, Chief Elvis Chukwu, said: “Rotary International promised children of the world to eradicate polio from the surface of the earth. We feel that when children are paralyzed, it affects their education, welfare and every other thing, and it is endemic.
“Rotary has succeeded in doing that and as at today, there are only three countries in the world that still has polio – Pakistan, Afghanistan and Nigeria. However, Nigeria is on the verge of being certified polio-free between now and end of August because since the last three years, we have not experienced wide polio virus.”
Phyno on his part said he was ready to help spread the news, and represent the Rotary in letting people be aware of polio and fight it. He added that he will pass on the message to his teaming followers.