As part of ways to sustain the successes recorded in the efforts to eradicate polio from Nigeria, the Federal Government has said it will reconstitute an expanded Presidential Taskforce on Polio to include the 36 state governors.
President Muhammadu Buhari, who made the statement in Abuja on Wednesday at the signing of the updated Abuja Commitment on polio eradication, said that when reconstituted, the expanded Task force would ensure effective surveillance and routine immunization programmes.
“I am pleased to inform you that the six states mostly impacted by polio have signed MoU on routine immunization.
“This MOU is a commitment by the state governments, namely Kano, Bauchi, Borno, Kaduna, Sokoto and Yobe, to strengthen Primary Health care system through community sensitisation and support programmes.
“Based on this, I will take this opportunity to call on all state governors, the National Primary Health Care Development Agency and the Federal Ministry of Health to sustain this momentum to ensure we maintain the zero polio case status,’’ he said.
Buhari thanked Mr Bill Gates, Alhaji Aliko Dangote and other members of the polio eradication team for their personal commitments towards total eradication of polio virus in Nigeria.
“I also recognise the heroic efforts of our polio eradication team under the National Primary Health Care Development Agency of the Federal Ministry of Health as well as the WHO, UNICEF, Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, CDC, USAID, Rotary, Faith based organizations, Traditional Rulers, vaccinators and caregivers,’’ he said.
In his remarks, Bill Gates said that 2009 was a turning point in the fight against polio in Nigeria,” he said, “Nigeria cannot afford to lose focus on the ball now.”