Jonathan Reaffirms Commitment To Polio Eradication

President Goodluck Jonathan affirmed Thursday at the Presidential Villa that the Federal Government remains fully committed to achieving the total eradication of polio from Nigeria before the end of the tenure of the present administration in 2015.

A child receiving vaccination against polio

Speaking at an audience with a delegation of Rotary International led by the Chairman of the Rotary Foundation Trustees and past President of Rotary International, Wilfrid Wilkinson, President Jonathan said that the Federal Government will take all necessary action and work in close collaboration with its development partners and other stakeholders to overcome the challenges of ignorance, misinformation and security as well as the cultural and religious inhibitions that were currently hindering mass immunization against polio in parts of the country.

President Jonathan said that his administration was actively encouraging pro-polio immunization advocacy by respected religious leaders and traditional rulers as part of a multi-faceted strategy to ensure the success of the nationwide campaign.

“I promise you that we will continue to do our best because I do not want to hand over polio to the next administration,” President Jonathan told the delegation which also included Jonathan Majiyagbe, the first African President of Rotary International.

The leader of the delegation, Mr Wilkinson assured President Jonathan that Rotary International will continue to commit resources and personnel in support of the Federal Government’s efforts to eradicate polio from Nigeria.

President Jonathan had earlier received a Mexican Government delegation which was at the Presidential Villa to seek Nigeria’s support for Mexico’s candidate for the post of Director-General of the World Trade Organization (WTO).

Welcoming the delegation, President Jonathan noted that the WTO had a very important role to play in global trade and economic development.

President Jonathan told the delegation which was led by Lourdes Aranda Bezaury, a Special Envoy of President Enrique Pena Nieto that Africa needed someone at the WTO’s helm who will positively address the continent’s concerns over the restrictions that currently hinder the export of African products to other part of the world.

Jonathan vows to eradicate polio by 2015

President Goodluck Jonathan on Monday said that his administration is commitment to the eradication of Polio in Nigeria in the next two years.

Mr Jonathan said this at the Presidential Villa, Abuja during the presentation of Polio Eradication Champion award to him by a delegation of Rotary International led by its foundation’s Chair-elect, Wilfrid Wilkinson.

This award elevated Mr Jonathan to be in the league of world leaders like British Prime Minister, UN Secretray-General Ban Ki-Moon and Kofi Annan among others who have so far been similarly honoured.

The President said he was committed to eradicating Polio if that would be the only thing that he is remembered for in the health sector.

“One thing I promise the Nigerian child, and also the Nigerian father and mother is that if we cannot solve all the health problems in this country now, one thing this present administration is committed to is to eradicate polio by 2015,” he said.

“I have already told the minister of state health that directly oversees this aspect that we must do all what we can to eradicate polio in the next two years in this country.

“Luckily for us, the incident of polio is now limited to two geopolitical zones and even within the zones, the spread is limited to about five or eight states and I believe that with commitment from the central government, the state government and the traditional rulers, in the next two years, we should be able to eradicate polio,” he added.

Mr Jonathan commended Rotary International for its efforts aimed at making life more meaningful across the globe and solicited for more support from the group.

He said the award given to him would further propel him to do more towards the eradication of the disease.

“This recognition will only give me more impetus to do more of what I am totally committed to do. I promise the Rotary Club International that I will do my best as the president of this country to work with all stakeholders to see that we eradicate polio,” he said.

Mr Wilkinson, who was the President of Rotary International from 2007 to 2008, noted that Nigeria recorded 95 per cent reduction in wild polio infection in 2010 compared to 2009 under President Jonathan.

He said research in 2011 on polio in Nigeria showed that the disease had continued to threaten the gains in the previous year.

Mr Wilkinson further said his organisation welcomed the renewed efforts of President Jonathan in addressing the retrogression by setting up a special task force to eradicate polio.
While commending the president for his promise to increase funding for polio eradication, he promised the continued support of the group.

He urged the President to continue to be strong in his efforts aimed at eradicating polio.