As Nigeria joined the rest of the world to mark polio day, United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), rotary club and other stakeholders have called for unrelentless efforts in the immunisation campaign in spite of the Polio Free declaration by the World Health Organization (WHO) in Nigeria.
The charity organisations made the call in Abuja during a book launch titled, “So They Can Walk: The Story Of Polio Eradication In Nigeria, The Rotary Perspective,” authored by Professor Christopher Bankole Ndubisi Ogbogbo.
World polio day was initiated by Rotary International over a decade ago to commemorate the birth of Jonas Salk, who developed a vaccine against poliomyelitis. The day is celebrated every year on 24 October to help create more public awareness of the disease and Rotary International’s efforts to eradicate it.
Speaking at the launch, which records the efforts of the heroes on the fight to protect the children of Nigeria against polio, the representative of UNICEF Nigeria, Peter Hawkins said Wild polio, does not exist in Nigeria or Africa, and that has a lot to do with a rotary club.
He said rotary is the strongest ally in eradicating polio from families and communities and collectively, they share a vision, to ensure children can survive and grow and be happy, healthy and productive members of the great country. “And we work hand in hand in the global effort to make sure that every child is free from death, or paralysis from polio.”
He congratulated rotary for launching the important book and for their efforts over the years in eradicating polio.
Also speaking, Dr. Tunji Funsho, chairman of Rotary’s Nigeria National PolioPlus Committee (NNPC) said one of the biggest challenges to keep polio at zero has been the low level of immunisation.
He stressed the need to continue with immunization despite its current status in the country.
“We need to advocate, the government, at every level, or the level of states for children to continue to receive immunisation.”
The author of the book, Ogbogbo explained that he was inspired to write the book given the poor record of history in Nigeria, saying that there was the need to document the efforts put in by selfless men and women to eradicate polio.
He said ‘’one of the major challenge is born out of the lack of history. Our children don’t know who are their heroes or heroins are’’.