The Chairman Nigeria National Polio Committee of Rotary Internation, Past District Governor Joshua Hassan has warned that the fight against Polio is yet to be completely won.
He said despite the declaration of Nigeria as polio free in August 2020, there’s still need to raise $4.8bn to intensify efforts in fighting the virus globally till 2026.
Rotary has been at the forefront of war against Polio having contributed $2.5bn to vaccinate 300 million children amongst others, and holds credits for its role in polio free Nigeria.
Hassan speaking through Rotarian ‘Gbenga Olayiwole on Friday during the Nigeria Rotaract Multi-district conference (NIGEROTA) in Lagos said the mutant polio virus is still found in Nigeria.
The public health consultant said though only Pakistan and Afghanistan are still having cases of wild polio, it is already being exported to other countries.
“Only two countries (Pakistan and Afghanistan) remain endemic to wild polio today down from 124 in 1988.
“These two countries have however been exporting the virus to other countries including Mozambique and Malawi in Africa. Let me even shock you that our own country at a time was exporting variant of polio.
“Until the world is totally free from all forms of polio, our children remain risk of polio.”
Warning further, Olayiwole disclosed that the mutant polio virus is still prevalent in Nigeria.
“Our work is not done yet, wild polio virus is still paralizing children in the world. Mutant polio virus is also an issue. Nigeria is responsible for many of the cVPV cases in 23 countries in the past few years.
“In 2021, Nigeria had 415 out of 698 cases recorded globally. The country recorded 48 out of 787 in 2022,/ and just 1 out of 61global cases in 2023,” he added.
Olayiwole canvassed that Rotaractors who are the youth wing of Rotary in action, donate polio fund to the Rotary Foundation.
He explained that the fund will be dedicated to different categories in ensuring the provision of nOPV2 vaccine and it’s availability globally, advocacy at state and local government levels, community engagement and mobilization as well as prioritizing immunization at primary health centers.
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