President Muhammadu Buhari yesterday congratulated all Nigerians on what he called “joyous and historic occasion” as Nigeria becomes Wild Polio Virus Free.
Buhari, in a statement by his spokesman, Garba Shehu, thanked all partners, local and international, for their relentless efforts in ensuring the clean health bill.
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He said the achievement reflected the resilient spirit of Nigerians, particularly the capacity of hardworking men and women in the health industry, who drew resources and support from multiple sectors to deal a final blow to the deadly virus.
”This achievement is not only one of the great successes of this generation of Nigerians but also one of the obvious dividends of this administration, which is consistent with our progressive investment in the health of our people since 2015.
“This landmark achievement is also a promise kept to all Nigerians. As you will recall that in August 2015, barely three months after we assumed office, I promised Nigerians that: ‘My government shall provide the necessary resources and commitment required to strengthen the health system, routine immunization and ensure the country is certified Polio free.’”
He recalled that in 2016 the country suffered a major setback in the polio eradication efforts with the outbreak of the Wild Polio Virus in Borno State, after about two years without any case.
As a result of this, the president directed the immediate release of N9.8billion to the National Primary Health Care Development Agency to contain the outbreak.
He said: “This big battle would not have been won without the support of our donors and development partners including Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, Aliko Dangote Foundation, Rotary International, United States Centre for Disease Control and Prevention, USAID, Sir Emeka Offor Foundation, Japan International Cooperation Agency, European Union, Global Health Canada, German Development Bank, WHO, UNICEF, Nigeria Governor’s Forum, Polio Survivors Group, the media, faith-based and other non-governmental organizations.”
Buhari appreciated the contribution of traditional and religious leaders who mobilized communities to accept immunization and other government programmes.