Nigeria removed from list of polio endemic countries
Nigeria has been removed from the list of polio endemic countries in what is being regarded as a “milestone” on the quest to eradicate the disease.
The World Health Organisation (WHO) said Nigeria has not reported a case of wild polio virus since July 24, 2014.
“All laboratory data confirm that 12 months have passed without any new case in the country.
“Nigeria has brought the world one major step closer to achieving this goal and it is critical that we seize this opportunity to end polio for good and ensure that future generations of children are free from this devastating disease.
“This leaves only Pakistan and Afghanistan as the only countries with endemic cases of the disease,’’ the organisation said in a statement issued in Abuja on Saturday.
The statement quoted the Global Polio Eradication Initiative as describing the development as historic achievement in global healthcare.
WHO issued the statement after the recent Global Polio Eradication meeting in New York.
The statement recalled that in 2012, Nigeria accounted for more than half of all polio cases worldwide.
It said that the success was the result of concerted efforts by all levels of government, civil society groups and religious leaders in the country.
It observed further that more than 200,000 volunteers across the country had repeatedly immunised more than 45 million children under the age of five years.
Nigeria will need three years without polio cases to be declared free of the disease