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Rotary pledges to keep Nigeria’s polio status at zero

By Adaku Onyenucheya
28 October 2021   |   3:20 am
Rotary International District 9110 has pledged to sustain Nigeria’s polio-free status through continuous vaccination of children under five years old and awareness campaigns designed to keep the disease permanently out of the country.

[FILES] A child receives the vaccine PHOTO: Reuters<br />

Rotary International District 9110 has pledged to sustain Nigeria’s polio-free status through continuous vaccination of children under five years old and awareness campaigns designed to keep the disease permanently out of the country.

The district, comprising Lagos and Ogun States, joined millions of people across the world to commemorate this year’s World Polio Day with a seven-kilometre sensitisation walk from Rotary District Office, Ladoke Akintola, Ikeja GRA to Bank Anthony Way.

The District Governor, Remi Bello, said, although Nigeria has been declared polio free, it is still not safe until polio is eradicated from the entire world.

He said, while Afghanistan and Pakistan still have cases of polio, Rotary would continue to vaccinate children under five years and sensitise mothers on getting their children immunised against the virus.

“Polio anywhere is polio everywhere. So, we still need to continue until the world at large is certified polio free.”

“We launched a book where we catalogued the involvement of Rotary International – the initiative and the support we have given so far by Rotary Clubs and Rotarians world over.

“That book captured what we have been running in Nigeria. That is one way and we believe we still need to continue to raise funds for fighting polio everywhere,” he said.

A pharmacist with Rotary Club of Ogudu GRA, Gbemileke Afolabi, said Nigeria must not rest on its oars, especially as it has been certified polio free by international organisations, noting that more work needs to be done to keep the virus out.

He urged parents to ensure their children are vaccinated, saying this is the way to ensure the disease is reduced to zero in Nigeria.

Afolabi also urged organisations to work with Rotary in long-term plans to support the government in eradicating poliovirus. Chairman, District Polio Plus Committee, Ademola Olutusi, said the walk was meant to create awareness among people in communities not to relent in keeping the disease out of the country.

He said Rotary has commenced immunisation of newborn babies in Lagos and Ogun States, as well as vaccinating those who are yet to get the shot.

On her part, Past District Representative, Constance Ifekemi Jaiyeola, said vaccination of children between the ages of zero to five years by the Rotary Club of Ikoyi is ongoing, as the age bracket is the most vulnerable to polio and meningitis.

She encouraged mothers to present their children for the exercise, adding that Rotary Club would continue to ensure every child gets vaccinated.