WHO Removes Nigeria From List Of Polio Endemic Countries
Only two countries, Pakistan and Afghanistan, are now left on the list.
But Nigeria still needs to wait for another two years to be fully certified polio free by the World Health Organization (WHO).
The World Health Organization announced at the weekend that polio is no longer endemic in Nigeria. This is the first time that Nigeria has interrupted transmission of wild poliovirus, bringing the country and the African region closer than ever to being certified polio-free.
In its reaction, the Global Polio Eradication Initiative (GPEI), the public-private partnership leading the effort to eradicate polio, referred to the new development as ‘historic achievement’ in global health.
Nigeria has not reported a case of wild poliovirus since 24 July 2014, and all laboratory data have confirmed a full 12 months have passed without any new case.
According to the World Health Organisation, as recently as 2012, Nigeria accounted for more than half of all polio cases worldwide.
“This success is the result of a concerted effort by all levels of government, civil society, religious leaders and tens of thousands of dedicated health workers. More than 200,000 volunteers across the country repeatedly immunized more than 45 million children under the age of five years, to ensure that no child would suffer from this paralysing disease. Innovative approaches, such as increased community involvement and the establishment of Emergency Operations Centres at the national and state level, have also been pivotal to Nigeria’s success.