Kingsley Nwezeh in Abuja

The Rotary International yesterday donated $5.7 million to aid the fight against polio in Nigeria. The donation was handed over to UNICEF Country Representative in Nigeria, Dr. Pernille Ironside.

Speaking in Abuja, the Minister of Health, Prof. Isaac Adewole, commended Rotary International for the donation and called on other partners to support Nigeria in its efforts to become a polio-free country.

The minister said Nigeria was on its last lap to end polio. He stated that in the next couple of months, Nigeria would be certified polio free.

However, the minister noted that it was imperative that children  who were previously inaccessible in the North-east due to the insurgency must access vaccinations before the certification.

The minister commended National Primary Health Care Development Agency (NPHCDA) for the routine immunisation in the country. He said there was great improvement on the coverage of immunisation.

“There is tremendous improvement on the routine immunisation, but we are not there yet, we need to work hard to ensure that we reach every child so that we can beat our chest and say yes we are there” Adewole said.

In his remarks, the Chairman Polio Plus Committee, Rotary International, Dr. Tunji Funsho, said that polio eradication was an expensive venture that required concerted efforts.

“This donation would inspire other partners to come on board and support the Nigerian government. We in polio plus committee were reaching more and more children, more and more areas that are hitherto not accessible particularly with the support of the military”, he said.

Speaking, UNICEF Deputy Country Representatives in Nigeria, Dr. Pernille Ironside, said that the donation was to complement government’s effort on polio eradication in Nigeria.

“We are interested in  ensuring that Nigeria is certified a polio free country, being the most populous country in Africa. If Nigeria succeeds, other African countries would succeed,” she said.

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