The United States, US, has congratulated the government and people of Nigeria for attaining a wild poliovirus-free status after the World Health Organization, WHO, declared Africa free from the polio virus.
US Ambassador to Nigeria, Mary Beth Leonard commended the joint effort of all stakeholders that qualified Nigeria to be removed from the list of wild polio endemic countries.
She noted that the certification came after four years without any reported cases of polio in Nigeria and following an in-depth review and acceptance of the country’s certification documentation.
Leonard said, “We are proud of our partnership with Nigeria and cherish the cooperation that ensures the country has the technical expertise and resources required for success. No country could have achieved this great feat without the support of its partners.
“The United States stands ready to continue its partnership with Nigeria as it consolidates and builds upon its successes in fighting polio, including strengthening routine immunization, and improving the health of children and their families.
“US is confident that Nigeria has strategies in place to ensure the gains made in the polio eradication efforts are not lost and that the momentum achieved in achieving this certification continues. Despite the certification, a resurgence of polio can still occur.
“It is therefore critical that the country’s disease surveillance system is sensitive enough to quickly detect and respond to diseases”, she added.
Leonard recognized the role of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, CDC and the U.S. Agency for International Development, USAID at the forefront of partnering with the people of Nigeria toward polio eradication efforts in the country.
“Since 2012, the CDC and USAID have invested approximately $150 million and $70 million, respectively, toward Nigeria’s polio eradication efforts.
“The agencies work in Nigeria at the state and local levels to strengthen surveillance, polio campaigns, polio outbreak response efforts, and routine immunization.
Implementing partners include: the African Field Epidemiology Network, Core Group Partners Program, International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies, UNICEF, and Word Health Organization”, she said.
Recall that on August 25, the World Health Organization, WHO, had declared Africa as a continent free from wild polio virus as no cases have been recorded since 2016.
In a press statement that was jointly signed by the WHO Director General, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus and President of Rotary International, Holger Knaack, it explained that, achieving something like these requires cognate skills, resources and experience that will be added to the whole process, so as to make sure that legacy is left behind, one that will help the poor countries effectively tackle the disease.