The African Union will tomorrow celebrate its success in checkmating poliomyelitis, popularly called polio on the continent. Nigeria, which remains the only endemic country with disease in Africa, is making effort to finally interrupt the virus and get World Health Organization, WHO, certification on poliofree status in about two and a half years from now. Nigeria, last recorded the wild type of the virus, Type 1, on July 24 last year.
Should she maintain her current stand, the country would wait till around July 24, 2017 to be certified free of the disease by the WHO. Nigeria, Pakistan and Afghanistan are three countries worldwide currently battling to fight the virus to a standstill.
In a statement available to National Mirror recently by Director, Press and Public Relations, Federal Ministry of Health, Mrs Ayotunde Adesugba, the 24th African Union Summit holding in Addis Ababa today and tomorrow would be celebrating the present success on polio on the continent. It would also consider strengthening efforts on delivering polio-free legacy for all children on the continent, according to the statement. “One of the main themes of the Summit, ‘The Development Towards Africa’s Agenda 2063’ focuses on preparing Africa for its future, building upon the progress now underway and effectively learning lessons from the past. A polio-free Africa is one of the best legacies that the people of Africa, its leaders, and the African Union can pass on to the next generation.
“In Nigeria, tremendous progress was achieved at the end of December 2014 with 87% reduction of the Wild Polio Virus Type 1 (WPV1) burden and 78% reduction in geographic spread of the virus. Wild Polio Virus Type 3 (WPV3) has not been reported in Nigeria for 23 months. The genetic clusters circulating in Nigeria have also declined from 8 in 2013 to 1 in 2014 representing an 88% reduction. This feat has been achieved as a result of over two year’s meticulous improvement in the programme with award winning innovations,” it added.