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Buhari commends health workers for polio eradication success

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The President of Nigeria, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd) has commended health workers over their role in the eradication of wild poliovirus from Nigeria.

In a series of tweets on his official Twitter handle on Tuesday, the president said the road to polio eradication for the country was tortuous and adventurous.

The president disclosed that he had vowed in 2015 that he would not leave the task of polio eradication for the next government.

“This is truly a historic event. In 2015, I made a pledge to Nigeria that I will not pass the #polio virus to my successor. This certification is a fulfilment of that pledge,” he said.

Buhari also took out time to applaud the painstaking contribution of health professional in the country and Sub-Saharan Africa for their resilience in ensuring that the continent is rid of poliovirus.

“I would like to commend the dedication of health workers in #Nigeria and across the region,” he lauded.

The World Health Organisation had earlier announced today that polio is no longer endemic in Nigeria, leaving the devastating disease endemic in only two countries and bringing the world one major step closer to achieving this goal of ending polio for good.

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Since 1988, the incidence of polio has been reduced by more than 99 per cent, according to WHO. At the time, more than 350,000 children were paralysed every year, in more than 125 endemic countries.

Today, two countries remain which have never stopped endemic transmission of polio: Pakistan and Afghanistan, where there have been in 2015, 41 cases reported (32 in Pakistan, 9 in Afghanistan).

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In its announcement today, WHO said that Nigeria has made remarkable progress against polio, but noted that continued vigilance is needed to protect these gains and ensure that polio does not return.

Nigeria has not reported a case of wild poliovirus since 24 July 2014, and all laboratory data has confirmed that a full 12 months have passed without any new cases.

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