President Muhammadu Buhari on Monday received a delisting certificate from the World Health Organisation to indicate the removal of Nigeria from the list of polio-endemic countries.
Receiving the certificate from the Director-General of WHO, Dr Margaret Chan in Abuja, the President said that in the past 14 months Nigeria had not recorded a new case of the polio virus.
According to him, the Federal Government will sustain the campaign against the polio virus until the country is free of the disease by 2017.
“I want to assure you that there will be no complacency, as we will maintain and improve on our surveillance system as well as raise the childhood population immunity against the polio virus to avoid any spread of the disease.
“The Federal Government will sustain the current momentum and we shall continue to regard this campaign as an emergency until we are declared polio free in the next two years.
“On August 31, 2015, I held a meeting with the High Advocacy Group whereby the Federal Ministry of Health was given a clear directive to come up with measures for enhanced effort towards ensuring the sustenance of this campaign.
“In pursuance of this anti-polio drive I held an expanded meeting of state governors and other stakeholders involving mainly representatives from the eleven polio high risk states where the main issues requiring government’s attention were raised and discussed.
“I would like to reiterate the Federal Government’s commitment towards the achievement of a polio free Nigeria in 2017.”
The President reassured that government will sustain the needed funding for operations and vaccine procurement for the programme.
He stated that the Presidential Taskforce on Polio Eradication will be reconstituted under the leadership of the Federal Ministry of Health to provide political direction and oversight to avoid complacency and relapse.
Buhari commended vaccinators, community mobilisers, partners, parents and care-givers, traditional and religious leaders as well as development partners for their support towards making Nigeria polio free.