WE WAN’T TO MAKE POLIO A THING OF THE PAST, SAYS BUHARI
STATEMENT BY PRESIDENT MUHAMMADU BUHARI ON THE SECOND ANNIVERSARY OF INTERRUPTION OF WILD POLIOVIRUS TRANSMISSION IN NIGERIA1. Today, July 24, 2016 marks two years since the last case of wild poliovirus was reported in Nigeria. I congratulate all stakeholders that have made this historic achievement possible and those who have worked tirelessly to maintain the effort and permanently halt new polio cases in the country.
2. The next major milestone for us as a country is the certification of polio-free status in 2017 by the World Health Organisation. This administration remains firm in its commitment towards making this a reality by continuing to support in every way possible, routine immunization and the revitalization of primary health care system.
3. As a nation, we are cooperating with international public and private partners to ensure that in our lifetime our children do not suffer from this crippling disease again. We recognize the power of global partnership to achieve a polio-free world and Nigeria will continue to honour its commitment to ensure that this disease is wiped off the face of the earth for good.
4. In the last 14-months since this administration came into office, we have had a number of challenges in the drive to eradicate polio. The downturn in the economy, the frequent disruption of services by health workers, the insecurity in some of the eleven polio high risk states, are just some of the rivers we must cross to achieve our objective and protect our children against this vaccine-preventable disease.
5. We will continue to do our best to ensure timely release of funds required for polio eradication programme. The good health and well-being of Nigerian children remain an important part of our drive to national development. We have demonstrated our strong commitment in this regard with the allocation of N12.6 billion in the 2016 budget for vaccines and programmes to prevent childhood killer diseases such as polio, measles, yellow fever and others.
7. The Government will encourage leaders in the states and local governments to continue to provide direction, supervision and improved surveillance activities. These are critical as we collaborate towards ensuring that polio moves closer to extinction in Nigeria and by extension on the African continent.
8. I applaud the immense support given by our revered religious and traditional leaders through the years as I invite others who are yet to lend their weight to this laudable task of polio eradication. It is a collective effort that requires the support of all communities including parents, guardians, teachers, health workers, international partners and leaders.
9. Just a fortnight ago, I directed the Federal Ministries of Health and Information and Culture, to reinvigorate their strategies in concert with State governments, to ensure our certification by 2017.
10. A year ago when Nigeria was delisted as a polio endemic country, I remarked that our fight against other communicable and non-communicable diseases must be anchored on a strong health system. I am pleased that the National Health Act has made provision for universal access to basic healthcare with a focus on the poor and the vulnerable as well as the basic healthcare provision funds to support its implementation. This government intends to improve the whole field of Medicare during our term of office.
11. I thank our development partners particularly WHO, UNICEF, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Aliko Dangote Foundation, USAID, US-Centre for Disease Control, Rotary International, and a host of others who contributed financially and materially to this effort. Together we can achieve our vision to make polio a thing of the past.