Polio ambassador vows to defeat scourge despite recent outbreak

The Rotary International Polio Ambassador to Nigeria, Sir Emeka Offor, has vowed to defeat polio, despite the recent discovery of two cases of Acute Flaccid Paralysis (AFP) of Wild Poliovirus Type 1, in Borno State.

Reflecting on years of remarkable public health achievements and recent isolated polio outbreak in Borno State, in Abuja, Offor encouraged all relevant  stakeholders to focus on   a renewed emphasis on  End Polio Now campaign.

According to the National Polio Eradication Operations Centre in Abuja, two children  from Gwoza and Jere Local Government Areas of Borno State, have been paralyzed by the disease. They  said the only recorded cases of polio in Nigeria since July 2014 within months of being certified free and clear of the disease by the World Health Organisation (WHO).

“It is a disheartening turn of events in our collective efforts to rid the country of the  disease,”   he said.

“We have wrestled polio together for many years and have enjoyed remarkable success. We shall not relent. We will now  refocus and  unite  to continue the fight to ensure that all children are safe from the disease. We will defeat polio.

“The isolated cases of AFP in Borno State are a sobering reminder that no child is safe until every potential virus becomes eradicated worldwide.

“Nigeria should be unreserved in its vigilance, intensify surveillance across borders and continue to drive forward the campaign on national immunisation, particularly, in the  move to reach communities of the North East,” he said.

Also commenting on the development, the Rotary International Polio Plus  chairman, Michel McGovern,  stressed  that it was disappointing news for rotarians all over the world and particularly, those in Nigeria, who have been at the forefront of the Global Polio Eradication Initiative (GPEI).

“Rotary members remain resilient in the face of challenges,” he said.

“Today, we roll up our sleeves and redouble our efforts to rid the world of this devastating disease. rotary members in Nigeria are already  at work to support the outbreak response and our network will also be tapped to protect children quickly in  other  countries,” he said.