Rotary International has announced $8.15 (Eight Million, One Hundred and Fifty Thousand Dollars in grants to support the fight against polio in Nigeria and the countries in the Lake Chad Basin Region.
This was contained in a statement issued by Michael K.McGovern,Chair of Rotary’s International Polioplus Committee.
The announcement was a response to the recent reports of new cases of wild poliovirus in Nigeria where two cases were detected in July, and one in August.
‘’The three cases were the first to be detected in Nigeria since July 2014 adding that with these new cases, funding for polio eradication is particularly vital as rapid response plans are on stream in Nigeria and adjacent countries to forestall the outbreak quickly and prevent its spread,’’ The report stated.
The Rotary Chair further stated that Rotary and its partners in the Global Polio Eradication Initiative (GPEI) were working in tandem to immunize children in Nigeria and countries in the Lake Chad Basin (Chad, northern Cameroon, southern Niger and the Central African Republic).
While acknowledging that significant strides have been made in the fight against polio, he added that with the 26 cases reported globally in 2016, polio remained a threat in hard-to-reach and underserved areas and conflict zones. He noted.
He was quoted saying: ‘’While we are disappointed with the recent news coming out of Nigeria, this situation underscores the extreme importance of widespread immunization campaigns and strong disease surveillance in all countries of the world until polio is fully eradicated.’’
McGovern expressed optimism that the funding would help stem the incidence of polio adding that Rotary and its partners were leaving no stone unturned to sustain the progress recorded in polio eradication as well as stop transmission in Pakistan, Afghanistan, and Nigeria.
In order to sustain this progress, and protect all children from polio, experts said there is need for full funding and political commitment to prevent polio from returning to previously polio-free countries, putting children everywhere at risk.