WHO And UNICEF Congratulate on Polio Free Status in Nigeria

WHO And UNICEF Congratulate on Polio Free Status in Nigeria

WHO And UNICEF Congratulate on Polio Free Status in Nigeria

The World Health Organization, WHO and UNICEF have congratulated Nigeria on being declared free of wild polio virus.
Global organizations have praised the Global Polio Eradication Project, GPEI, partners in Nigeria who helped the country achieve this achievement; the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and the Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunization, GAVI, as well as traditional and religious leaders and volunteer group mobilizers from Nigeria, identifying the latter as foot soldiers battling to liberate the children.

Yet while acknowledging that achieving “this achievement is not the end of the job,” they called on the country to improve its routine immunization, “saying” all children under the age of five will continue to be vaccinated against diseases preventable from vaccinating.

Dr Walter Kazadi Mulumbo, WHO Country Representative for Nigeria, and Peter Hawkins, UNICEF Representative for Nigeria, both said in a statement this Tuesday.
The Declaration read:

“WHO and UNICEF today congratulated Nigeria on being declared free of the wild poliovirus but stressed that achieving this milestone is not the end of the job – all children under five years must continue to be vaccinated against vaccine-preventable diseases.

“This is critical to significantly reduce avoidable mortality in Nigerian children under 5 years old, keep polio permanently out of Nigeria, and ensure better health and well being for future generations.

“The UN agencies also congratulated fellow Global Polio Eradication Initiative (GPEI) partners in Nigeria who helped reach this achievement: Rotary International; the US Centers for Disease Control (CDC); Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and the Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunisation (GAVI); as well as Nigerian traditional and religious leaders and volunteer community mobilisers – the latter, the foot soldiers who fought to free the children of Nigeria from the wild poliovirus.

“Dr Walter Kazadi Mulumbo, Country Delegate of WHO Nigeria, said:

“WHO rejoices with the people and government of Nigeria and acknowledges that wild polio-free certification is undoubtedly the greatest public health triumph in the annals of Nigeria and indeed Africa that will bequeath to posterity lessons learnt and best practices for addressing future public health interventions.”

“Both UN agencies expressed strong appreciation for the role played by all stakeholders, especially the commitment and support of the Nigerian government at all levels, development partners, donors, traditional and community leaders, health workers and caregivers.

“This milestone is a clarion call to urgently rededicate resources to stopping the transmission of all types of poliovirus, strengthening routine immunization to sustain the gains achieved – especially in high-risk areas and traditional polio sanctuaries – and maintaining high-quality surveillance,’’ said Dr. Walter Kazadi Mulumbo.

“It is a momentous achievement that calls for celebration,” said Peter Hawkins, UNICEF Representative in Nigeria. “This historic achievement not only signifies the end of the wild poliovirus across the entire African continent but is also a significant springboard towards attaining global polio eradication.”

“UNICEF joins Nigeria in celebrating this milestone – and congratulating Nigeria’s children, especially – but we must remember that the job is not over,” said Peter Hawkins. “All caregivers must continue to vaccinate their children against vaccine-preventable childhood diseases, including polio.

As supporters of wild poliovirus eradication, religious and civic leaders will strive to encourage carers to vaccinate their children for all preventable diseases. Now more than ever children need their support,’ Peter Hawkins said.“Not only is polio vaccination still crucial, but all routine vaccinations are also critical to children’s survival. We must all work together to strengthen routine immunisation services and ensure that all children under five receive all vaccines, including the polio vaccine.”

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