Good News! Nigeria is certified Polio-Free!
Rotarians, your End Polio Now work is making a difference. The news buzzing around the Rotary world is that the World Health Organization (WHO) announced that Polio is no longer endemic in Nigeria and that the most populous nation in Africa is certified Polio-Free. Nigeria has not had a case of wild poliovirus since July 24, 2014. All laboratory data has confirmed that a full 12 months has passed without any new cases.

Rotary International has contributed, through TRF about $268 million to fight Polio in Nigeria; so, this is a victory worth celebrating. The chair of Rotary’s Nigeria National PolioPlus Committee, Dr. Tunji Funsho, while acknowledging the milestone, cautions Rotarians about celebrating too soon. “It’s paramount that we ensure all doors are locked to the re-entry of the wild poliovirus into our country.”

As recently as 2012, Nigeria accounted for more than half of all polio cases worldwide. However, according to WHO, no less than 200,000 volunteers across the country repeatedly immunized more than 45 million children under the age of 5, to ensure that no child would suffer from this paralyzing disease. Commenting on this huge accomplishment, WHO’s Director-General, Dr. Margaret Chan said “we must now support the efforts in Pakistan and Afghanistan so they soon join the polio-free world.”

Since 1988, polio incidence has been reduced by more than 99 percent. Before then, the virus was paralyzing an average of 350,000 children every year in more than 125 countries.

As we begin a new Rotary year, let us continue to support all efforts at eradicating Polio from the face of the planet.
“There’s been an amazing organization that’s been behind this… It was due to Rotary that the campaign was started.” Bill Gates on Eradicating Polio.
In Rotary,
Olabisi Gwamna, PhD
Mount Pleasant Evening Rotary
Editor, Foundation Minute.