The Sir Emeka Offor Foundation says it has committed $10 million financial interventions, with matching grants from Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, towards the eradication of polio in Nigeria.
The founder of the foundation, Chief Emeka Offor, announced this in a message to celebrate Nigeria’s wild polio-free status being accepted by Africa’s Regional Certification Committee (ARCC) of the World Health Organisation (WHO).
Offor, who is the Rotary International Polio Ambassador to Nigeria, personally signed the message he addressed to Nigerians and his friends across the globe.
A copy of the message was made available to the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Saturday in Abuja.
NAN reports ARCC, responsible for certifying the eradication of wild poliovirus in the African Region, has expressed satisfaction with the documentation presented by Nigeria.
“I am delighted with the great news and I join millions of Nigerians in celebrating this great achievement.
“For more than a century, Polio has continued to ravage the whole world.
“In 1988 alone, about 350,000 cases of polio were estimated in 125 countries.
“Today, history has been made in our Country, with this pronouncement,’’ the Offor stated.
He recalled that in 2013, he pledged to continue the work of polio eradication till Nigeria and the world is polio-free.
“I am happy to see that this promise is beginning to materialise.
“At the Sir Emeka Offor Foundation, we have made concerted efforts in partnership with Rotary International to drive public awareness campaigns, immunisation outreaches, advocacy and successful fundraising within Nigeria and abroad, for polio eradication,’’ he said.
Offor expressed gratitude to President Muhammadu Buhari and the Nigerian Government for their leadership roles.
“We appreciate our great partners, Rotary International and The Rotary Foundation as well as the Nigeria National PolioPlus Committee.
“We appreciate the Federal Ministry of Health, the National Primary Health Care Development Agency, Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, Andrew Young Foundation.
“We equally appreciate the traditional institution especially the Sultan of Sokoto; the Nigerian Rotary Family, all health workers, volunteers and supporters of this commendable cause.’’
Offor, however, noted that, though the fight was almost over, it was not Uhuru yet.
“While we rejoice, we must continue surveillance, advocacy, routine immunisation, field supervision and maintenance of personal hygiene.
“Notwithstanding the COVID-19 pandemic, we must do our best to sustain the momentum and keep polio at zero levels, as we await the regional certification of Africa in August 2020,’’ he said.
NAN reports that Prof Rose Leke, the ARCC Chairperson had hinted that the commission had validated the documentations that granted wild polio-free status to Nigeria, Cameroon, Central African Republic and South Sudan,
NAN also reports that if the region is certified in August, it would be the fifth of the six WHO regions to be declared free of wild polio.