Committed to ensuring that every child is safe from the paralysis caused by poliovirus, Rotary International has donated a $ 14 million grant to the government of Nigeria to support polio surveillance activities and halt the spread of all forms of poliovirus across the country.
The grant which will be executed through the World Health Organization (WHO) will help to keep the country’s foot on the pedal through polio surveillance activities to sustain the gains achieved on wild poliovirus eradication and work towards eradicating the Circulating Variant Poliovirus (cVPV2) from Nigeria.
Welcoming the new grant, WHO Country Representative, Dr Walter Kazadi Mulombo, affirmed that “Surveillance is key to achieving health security”.
Dr Mulombo appreciated the minister for the confidence put in WHO to work alongside the government, other stakeholders and partners to achieve the health agenda as depicted in the renewed hope and the new health sector, renewal, and investment initiative which has health security as one of its key components.
Expressing gratitude to Rotary International for the grant, he said the eradication of all forms of poliovirus in Nigeria is key when discussing health security in the country. He said “ I commit the organization to making the best use of this funding and ensure efficiency, transparency and accountability and safeguard that the use of the funds do not give rise to any form of misconduct, including sexual exploitation and abuse against the community we serve.
The grant will boost work on polio surveillance until Nigeria is through the goal of eradicating all forms of poliovirus. Work is going on to get rid of CVPVD2, and surveillance is a key component of the intervention”.
Speaking in Abuja, during the symbolic presentation of the grant the Coordinating Minister of Health and Social Welfare, Professor Muhammad Ali Pate, said the support for polio surveillance will improve health security and strengthen Nigeria’s ability to timely detect and respond to other infectious diseases that could threaten national and global security.
The minister commended Rotary International for their consistent and amazing show of solidarity in Nigeria and globally.
He noted that their contribution, support and partnership and those of the Global Polio Eradication Initiative (GPEI) partners, including WHO was instrumental to Nigeria successfully interrupting the transmission of wild polio virus in the country.
“The polio success story in Nigeria is one thing we can collectively say we have done as a country. This serves as a backdrop for Nigeria’s effort to reinvigorate the health sector to deliver what is key to the health and well-being of our population that is why the President in December launched the health sector renewal investment initiative to save lives, to use physical and financial gains to produce health for all Nigerians and improve health outcomes.
WHO has done a great job in the area of surveillance, and can do more with the resources you have provided,” he said. Recount that Nigeria was certified wild poliovirus-free in August 2020, however, the country is still facing the challenge of cVPV2. Poliovirus is very contagious; a single case constitutes an outbreak of international concern.
Despite this progress, the poliovirus surveillance data has also shown that the virus continues to circulate in some states of the North-West zone, notably Sokoto, Zamfara, Kebbi and Katsina which are now referred to as the Axis of Intractable Transmission.
In his remark, Joshua Hassan, Chairman, Nigeria Rotary Polio Plus Committee said the organization is ready to support Nigeria to eradicate all forms of poliovirus in the country. Mr Hassan while presenting the cheques to the Coordinating Minister explained that the grants, facilitated through WHO are intended for surveillance and to offer technical assistance to the ministry in its polio eradication initiatives.
Mr Hassan said Rotary Foundation Trustees, approved in July 2023 a grant of US$2,675,000.00 to support Polio eradication in Nigeria through WHO Nigeria for Surveillance to track CVPV2.
“An additional grant of US$ 4,514,785 dated October 2023 was again approved by Rotary Foundation Trustees for surveillance by WHO and finally on the 10 of January 2024 yet another grant was approved to the sum of US$ 6,848,002 for Technical assistant making a total of US$ 14,037,787
Additionally, Rotary is committed through the Nigeria National Polio Plus Committee to support polio eradication and routine immunisation in Nigeria, he said.
Distributed by APO Group on behalf of World Health Organization (WHO) – Nigeria.