In the final lap of certifying Nigeria, a polio-free country, the African Regional Certification Commission (ARCC) for the eradication of poliomyelitis gave a vote of confidence that Southern Nigeria is on the right path to being polio free. 

From 9 to 20 December 2019, the ARCC team visited Federal Capital Territory (FCT) and six Southern states (Abia, Delta, Ebonyi, Edo, Lagos and Oyo) to conduct a critical analysis and verification of the certification documents prepared by the Nigerian Government. In each of the states visited, routine immunization, cold chain, surveillance activities and documentation were assessed, including those at the LGA levels. All three levels of health facilities; primary, secondary and tertiary were assessed for accuracy of their documents and the polio eradication processes carried out at those levels. The second phase of this review will be taking place in northern states from 02 to 13 March 2020.

In Delta State, Governor Ifeanyi Okowa reaffirmed his administration’s commitment to ensuring that the State remains Polio-free saying, “My administration will continue to provide adequate healthcare to the people. I believe that if we provide opportunities for all our people, it will be a lot easier to get them to be part of the immunization drive against polio and other diseases”.

Meanwhile, in Abia State, the Deputy Governor, His Excellency Ude Chukwu assured the ARCC of his State’s full commitment to providing support whenever the need arises.

Whereas in Lagos State, the Commissioner of Health, Professor Akin Abayomi acknowledged polio eradication efforts spearheaded by World Health Organization (WHO) in Nigeria over the years and commended the ARCC for their thoroughness, “It is no surprise that the world has declared a war on polio virus, and to declare a country or a region polio-free is no simple feat. This is a huge effort by the ARCC which we cannot take for granted.” 

The last case of WPV from humans was reported in Nigeria on 21 August 2016 in Monguno Local Government Area, Borno State.  As a pivotal partner in the fight against polio, WHO has spent a huge portion of its budget on polio eradication interventions. 

To read more visit the WHO Africa page here