President Muhammadu Buhari on Tuesday expressed great excitement that Africa has been declared Polio free and insisted that it was part of his promise to eradicate the disease from Nigeria.
Buhari was speaking at the formal certification of the Wild Polio Virus eradication in the African region during the virtual session of the 70th World Health Organisation (WHO) regional committee for Africa.
He also expressed optimism that just like Polio, COVID-19 would be defeated both in Nigeria and Africa.
A statement signed by the president’s spokesman, Femi Adesina quoted the Buhari as saying: ‘‘I recall that shortly after assuming office in May 2015, I made a pledge to Nigerians that I would not bequeath a polio-endemic country to my successor.
‘‘This certification is, therefore, personal fulfilment of that pledge to not only Nigerians but to all Africans.
‘‘At a time when the global community is battling the COVID-19 pandemic, this achievement strengthens my conviction that with the requisite political will, investments and strategies, as well as citizens’ commitment, we will flatten the epidemic curve.’’ the President said in his remarks celebrating the historic feat.
This Tuesday, The UN’s World Health Organization (WHO) declared that Africa was now free of polio virus, a landmark in a decades-long campaign to eradicate the notorious disease around the world.
“Today is a historic day for Africa,” said Professor Rose Gana Fomban Leke, whose commission certified that no cases had occurred on the continent for the past four years, the threshold for eradication in the wild.
Poliovirus now joins smallpox in the list of viruses that have been wiped out in Africa, the WHO said.The independent Africa Regional Certification Commission (ARCC) for Polio Eradication verified that all 47 countries in the WHO’s Africa region have eradicated the viral disease that can cause irreversible paralysis.