By Doosuur Iwambe
NPHCDA reaffirms commitment to routine immunisation
As Nigeria continues to celebrate its polio eradication certification status, the federal government has dedicated the victory to health workers who lost their lives during the struggle to eradicate the virus.
Minister of health, Dr. Osagie Ehanire, who was speaking on the victory, said that the journey would not have been possible without the commitment of health workers, who despite all odds, made sure children were vaccinated.
The minister said that the government recognised the sacrifices they made during the trying times adding that the action was a demonstration that great things could be done to achieve common purpose once there is unity.
“The achievement was made possible by the strong commitment of the President of the Federal Republic, Federal, State and Local Governments, with the support of Development Partners, Sponsors and Donors, Traditional, Religious and Community leaders, and not the least, thousands of National Primary Health Care Development Agency (NPHCDA) staff and gallant frontline health workers, who moved from house to house, community to community, vaccinating children, sometimes under difficult and daunting circumstances”, Ehanire said.
He also noted that “declaring Nigeria as a polio virus-free state is particularly significant for us, coming at a time when we are on the threshold of fostering an evolution in the health sector, built on the revelations and opportunities provided by the COVID-19 outbreak and inspired by the leadership of President Muhammadu Buhari.
Giving another reason why the struggle against polio took long, the minister said it was because the virus chose the northeast part of the country as its last refuge in Nigeria.
The dilemma being how to reach the unreachable, the President graciously ordered the engagement of the Armed Forces in the war against polio, a critical and unique partnership, which has generated global interest.
“May I now single out those men and women of our Armed Forces who became a key part of the polio eradication effort, when they carried campaigns into hard to reach and security compromised areas.
On behalf of the President, I salute you and tell you this victory is also yours.
“This being a day of celebration, I also on behalf of Mr President commend everyone, who contributed to this success in ways known and unknown: our amiable Governors, First Ladies, members of the National Assembly, LGA Chairmen, Civil Society Organizations and others too many to mention, for providing the requisite leadership and helping to create the awareness needed for the eradication of Wild Polio Virus.”
On his part, the Executive Director and Chief Executive Officer of the National Primary Healthcare Development Agency, (NPHCDA), Dr. Faisal Shuaib, said that the Polio Free Certification came through a lot of innovation, collaboration and strong will.