The Executive Chairman of Umuahia North Local Government Area of Abia State, Hon. Chidiebere Nwachukwu, has flagged off “End Polio Plus” campaign of the Rotary Club District 9142 Nigeria in the council area.
This is even as the Rotary Club Umuahia North District 9142 Nigeria honoured him with Polio Ambassador Award.
Speaking during the event which took place at Umuahia North Council, the President Rotary Club of Umuahia North District 9142 Nigeria, Rtn. Ezekwem Nnabuihe Odigbo, said the club decided to create awareness first before doing the immunisation which was expected to start in few days’ time.
He said the club had earlier planned to carry out the immunisation campaign within the district but the recent rumoured military medical outreach in the South East caused people to run away, adding that his members tried their best to let the beneficiaries know that they are not from the military but of the Rotary Club.
He said: “We are going to start immunising house to house, that is why we kicked off this awareness campaign. Within that period of the rumour, we were nearly mobbed but we were saved by the traditional ruler of the community who came to address them”.
Rotary Club single-handedly is paying for the whole vaccine used to eradicate polio and we thank God in Nigeria we have dropped it to zero but we want to drop it to zero infinity, so that we won’t have any other case of polio.
Yes, we don’t have it in the Southeast and in the South-south. We only have it in the North. That is where we have many polio affected persons, but we are striving to drop it to zero”.
We are supposed to be at Awka, Anambra State but my club decided that we must do it in our community. That is what Rotary is all about, that is what ending polio programme is all about. You don’t need to go far, do it in your community so that people around will know what the club is doing in their area.
That is why I am happy because we have at least done a big project today. It is a very big project in Rotary for you to kick polio out and we are poised to throw it away so that polio will cease to be in existence in Nigeria and the world at large.
Speaking also, the immediate past President of the club, Rtn. Prince Onugu Okechukwu Mba, said the communities will gain a lot “because we will move in to see that we immunise children between the ages of zero to five years so as to eradicate polio entirely in the system.
He advised parents and caregivers to bring their children out for the immunization and also appealed to pregnant women to always go for immunisation so as not to contact diseases.
The Chairperson, End Polio Now, Rtn. Onuora Geraldine, pointed out that polio eradication has recorded a huge success in Nigeria, adding, “At least, we are heading to zero polio now.
She however lamented that nonchalant attitude of parents in bringing out their children for immunisation, inadequate awareness campaign, fund and other logistics posed a hitch to the End Polio campaign.
She said despite all odds, the club has been advocating for people to bring out their children for immunization and passionately appealed to good spirited individuals to bring out the charity that will help in kicking polio out of Nigeria.
In his speech also, the Rotary Past Assistant Governor and current President, Rotary Club Umuahia central, Rtn. Charles Onyemere, encouraged members to keep working hard to make sure they don’t relent in any way in sustaining the zeal about ending polio.
He reminded members that any time they try to soft pedal, it means that the polio menace can come up again in the society.
Decorating the Vice Chairman of the Council, members of the club and other notable personalities from the council with purple flower, the Past Assistant Governor of the Club, Rtn. Grace Okaro, said the colour purple is significant in Rotary’s fight to end polio.
She said after a polio immunisation is given, the newly vaccinated person gets purple ink applied to his “pinky finger and it is called the purple pinky”.
She said the beautiful Purple Crocus has now been adopted by the End Polio Now campaign to energise and remind everyone of the importance of immunisation in defeating the devastating disease.
Speaking shortly after he received Polio Ambassador Award, Hon. Nwachukwu described Rotary Club as a wonderful club to join and enjoined those who are yet to join not to hesitate to do so.
He said with the unveiling of Rotary programmes in Umuahia North, many people will join the club.
“Many people do not know what Rotary Club is all about, but at least in this local government, they have now known that there is Rotary Club here and this is what they do. And with me as a Rotarian, many of my colleagues will join”, he assured.