Monday, November 11, 2013

I will not hand over polio to the next government – Jonathan

President Goodluck Jonathan yesterday pledged that his administration
will do everything possible to eradicate Wild Polio Virus in Nigeria
next year saying that he will not hand over polio to the in coming
government in 2015.
Speaking yesterday at an award ceremony for best performing state
governors from the six geopolitical zones on the eradication of polio,
President Jonathan also called on political leaders not to relegate
the fight against the eradication of polio to the background because
of campaign for the next elections.
He particularly commended Bill Gates of the Bill and Melinda Gates
foundation for his efforts in eradicating polio in Africa and
announced the conferment of the award of the Commander of the Federal
Republic (cfr) on him as an appreciation from the government and
people of Nigeria.
The president stated: "apart from helping us in fight against Polio
and provision of life saving commodities, Bill Gates is also
assisting us in agriculture.
"Like Dangote mentioned there is no reason we should not eradicate
polio by 2014. Let me assure you that the federal government is
totally committed to eradicating polio. We promise that we will work
hard because we don't want to handover polio to another government in
"With the support of all stakeholders present here I believe we will
succeed in our commitment to eradicate polio.
"I charge you all to be so committed especially as the elections are
coming. In fact from the analysis I was just briefed now I'm really
surprised that in 2011 there was lapse and it was attributed to the
elections, that during campaigns for elections we the politicians
think more about winning the elections and forget about other things.
I charge you all that we must work together to make sure that the
2014/2015 will not create any kind of gap in our commitment to
eradicate polio.
"In our local government and states that have suffered polio, it
should be part of our campaign, it should rather be part of our
campaign instead of our election to create a problem, our elections
should enhance our commitment.
"We should all feel ashamed that we are being accused of exporting
polio to neighbouring countries" the president.
He commended the traditional rulers for their roles in helping the
government meet its target of immunising Children against Polio
For those that won the award, the president charged them not to
rest on their oars but to ensure that nore is done to justify their
In his speech, the Minister of Health Professor Onyebuchi Chukwu said
as at 2012 the whole of northern Nigeria was being infected by
reported cases of Wild Polio but as at now only three states kano,
Borno and Yobe are of the greatest concerns.
He said since November last year there has been no reported cases of
transmission of the Type A polio various adding that "we have have
reduced it by 50 per cent though we have recently had 51 cases in
Borno, Kano, Yobe and Bauchi states.
He listed the challenges facing the the fight against polio as
non-accessibility to children due to insecurity and accountability
which necessitated the involvement of Local Government chairmen.
He said in order to sidestep the security challenge in Borno state "
we have formed permanent health team, the hit and run strategy during
the period of calm to reach children with successive doses over one to
two days bursts; Intensified routine immunization with free MNCH
services and essentials drugs; Firewalling Borno/Yobe borders with
health teams and health camps at borders, checkpoints and nomadic
camps in all LGAs".
He urged the President to direct rapid information sharing between JTF
and the programme on accessibility/security in security-compromised
The governors that won the award were Captain Idris Wada of Kogi for
North Central, Dr Olusegun Mimiko of Ondo state for the south West,
Kashim Shettima of Borno for North East, Liyel Imoke for south south
and Peter Obi of Anambra for south East.

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