The Rotary International has expressed optimism that Nigeria would attain the status of a polio-free nation that would attract World Health Organisation (WHO) certification soon.
Assistant Governor, Zone 5 of Rotary International, District 9142, Umuahia, Abia State, Sir Chimdi Oluoha, made this known in Umuahia when members of the District concluded End-the-Polio Walk in the Abia State capital as part of the activities to mark the 2018 Rotary Family Health Days.
The District had earlier carried out a three-day free health services which featured HIV testing and counselling, dental care, Cervical/Breast/Prostrate Cancer screening, diabetes and glucose level screening, polio immunisation, and tuberculosis screening at Laguru-Ubakala Health Centre in Umuahia South local government area.
Oluoha’s assurance is coming eight months after the WHO Country Director, Dr. Wondimagegnehu Alemu, disclosed in Uyo, Akwa last February that a Polio-free certification could be granted Nigeria by next year if no Wild Polio virus is detected in any part of the country within the period.
It was gathered that Nigeria has remained polio-free since August 2016. WHO had in September 25, 2015, announced that Nigeria was polio-free and was officially removed from the list of countries where polio is endemic, after no Wild Polio was detected in the country in 14 months.
The Rotarian, who spoke at the Umuahia Township Stadium said he was optimistic that Nigeria would receive polio-free certification because the level of awareness on eradicating the disease in the country has yielded positive results.
“To mark the 2018 World Polio Day, all over the world, Rotarians embarked on advocacy activities. To mark the day in Umuahia, Rotarians decided to embark on the End-Polio-walk to sensitise Abians on the need to join hands with the Rotary International to eradicate polio in Nigeria totally,” he said.
He, therefore, charged Abians to carry the polio eradication message to all parts the state and encourages mothers to present their children for immunization through which polio and other killer-diseases would be eradicated.
Contributing, the President of Rotary Club, Umuahia Central, Rtn. Martins Uchenna Kalu, revealed that the Rotary Club International had spent over $10 billion on polio eradication campaign globally since 1988.
Also, the President of Rotary Club, Umudike, Rtn. Obuora Okoye, expressed happiness over the large turnout of members for the walk, which, he said, recorded a huge success.
World Polio Day is celebrated on October 24, globally, to create awareness towards eradication of polio as well as to commemorate the efforts of thousands of employees of WHO and other volunteers committed to the eradication of Polio.
Rotary International established it over a decade ago to commemorate the birth of Jonas Salk, who led the first team to develop a vaccine against poliomyelitis.