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Nigeria could be certified polio free next year, says WHO



The Country Director of the World Health Organisation (WHO), Dr. Wondimagegnehu Alemu, has expressed optimism that Nigeria could be granted a Polio-free certification by 2019, if no Wild Polio virus was detected in any part of the country within the period.

Alemu made the observation during a courtesy call on the governor of Akwa Ibom State, Udom Emmanuel, yesterday, in Uyo.

He said the visit was to provide an update on the level of support to Akwa Ibom in the areas of technical support, field activities and other upcoming interventions, as well as find out the state’s expectations from WHO authorities.

The country director said Nigeria has remained Polio-free since August 2016 and that Afghanistan and Pakistan were the remaining two countries in the world still having the Polio virus.

He commended the state government for its support to WHO by creating a good working environment for the organisation’s team in Akwa Ibom and providing office accommodation through the state Ministry of Health.

Alemu disclosed that WHO had contributed N150 million for two rounds of immunisation in the state and appealed to the state government to provide its counterpart funding to help it carry out more interventions.

Earlier, the governor, who was represented by his deputy, Moses Ekpo, said the state was committed to improving the health standards of its people and sustaining the Polio-free status of the state.

He noted that without a healthy citizenry, the quest for development would be unattainable. He, therefore, commended WHO and other development agencies for continued support and partnership with the state.

He appealed to the health body to continue to train health workers in the state and provide equipment to aid disease surveillance and control.

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