The District Governor, Rotary International, District 9110, Rotn. Omotunde Lawson, has disclosed that the district members have contributed $80,000 (about N35 million at N436.61 official exchange rate) since January this year to prevent polio re-emergence in Nigeria. She stated this yesterday during the commemoration of the 2022 World Polio Day Walk held at Ikeja and Victoria Island, Lagos.
According to her, despite the country being certified polio-free by the World Health Organisation (WHO), there is need to prevent re-emergence of the virus in the country.
“We are happy to say that Rotary has succeeded in protecting 20 million children from being infected with polio virus in Nigeria. As we speak, everyone is contributing to the eradication of polio. Even as the virus is no longer in Nigeria, we are ready to support financially. This year alone, about $80,000 has been contributed by District 9110 just to keep the advocacy going,” she said.
While Afghanistan and Pakistan still have the virus, there is need for the protection of other countries to ensure the virus does not spread to them, she added. Her words: “Polio virus is endemic in two other countries, Afghanistan and Pakistan and this virus is only flight away. If any infected child from these two countries happens to be on the same flight with a child, who is not immune, the chances of infection is high. We want Nigeria to keep it at zero and ensure the virus does not recur.”
Also, the Chairman, District 9110 Polio Committee, Rotn. Demola Olutusin, said although, Nigeria had been certified polio free in the past two years, two cases have been recently discovered in Lagos.
He said what is thought to be polio virus is actually Polio Vaccine Derived Virus in which Nigeria has been doing Outbreak Response (OBR).
“We are creating awareness with the road walk to say polio is still very much around the world. Polio anywhere is polio everywhere.
If there is polio in neighbouring country, it is definitely closer to Nigeria.
“We are sensitising people to take their newborns to primary health centres to get vaccinated against polio. We are also using the awareness campaign to raise funds to support other countries battling the polio virus. Polio eradication is our signature project in Rotary,” he said.