Nigeria’s new polio status: GPEI leaders react

A health worker sails out for vaccination in a hard-to-reach community:  One of the heroes and heroines of Nigeria's Polio eradication success story

A health worker sails out for vaccination in a hard-to-reach community: One of the heroes and heroines of Nigeria’s Polio eradication success story

Stakeholders in the Global Polio Eradication Initiative (GPEI), the partners group coordinating the global development and implementation of short-term, long-term polio eradication strategic plans and emergency action plans, have reacted to this morning’s announcement by the World Health Organisation (WHO), delisting Nigeria from the polio- endemic countries. Below are their statements:
Dr. Chan

Chan

“The outstanding commitment and efforts that got Nigeria off the endemic list must continue, to keep Africa polio-free. We must now support the efforts in Pakistan and Afghanistan so they soon join the polio-free world.” 
Dr Margaret Chan, Director-General, World Health Organization
Dr. Muhammad

Muhammad

“We Nigerians are proud today. With local innovation and national persistence, we have beaten polio. We know our vigilance and efforts must continue in order to keep Nigeria polio-free.”
Dr. Ado Muhammad, Executive Director, National Primary Health Care Development Agency, Nigeria.
Dr. Moeti

Moeti

“Stopping polio in Nigeria has been a clear example that political engagement, strong partnerships and community engagement are the engines that drive the momentum of public health programmes, enabling them to achieve great things. I would like to congratulate everyone, particularly political, religious and community leaders in Nigeria and across Africa, for reaching a year without cases of wild polio.” 
Dr Matshidiso Moeti, WHO Regional Director for Africa
Dr. Frieden

Frieden

“This is a clear example of success under very difficult circumstances. It shows we can eradicate polio if proven strategies are fully implemented. Combined with the news of the eradication of type 2 wild polio virus last week, we are moving decisively toward ending a disease that has paralyzed tens of millions of children. In this final mile, we must remain committed to providing the resources and the support to the front lines to make this worthy goal a reality.”
Dr Tom Frieden, Director of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and Chairman of the Polio Oversight Board
Mr. Ravindran

Ravindran

“Rotary congratulates Nigeria on its tremendous accomplishment in stopping polio. On behalf of the entire Global Polio Eradication Initiative, we thank volunteers, health workers and parents in communities across Nigeria for their tireless commitment to ensuring every last child is protected against this devastating disease. In the months ahead, their dedication will remain as important as ever, as we work to keep Nigeria polio-free and to eliminate polio from its final strongholds in Pakistan and Afghanistan.” 
K.R. Ravindran, President, Rotary International
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“This is a significant milestone for the global polio eradication effort and the health workers, government and religious leaders and partners should be proud of this accomplishment. While the progress in Nigeria should be celebrated, it is also fragile. It is critical that Nigeria goes two more years without a case of polio which will require the support of partners, increased accountability at all levels of the program led by President Buhari, and increased domestic funding commitments.”
Chris Elias, President, Global Development, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation
Anthony Lake

Lake

“The removal of Nigeria from the list of polio-endemic countries is a major victory for Nigeria’s children.  It is a testament to the commitment and dedication of the Government of Nigeria, local leaders, and front line workers. And it is proof positive that if we work together in partnership to reach every community and immunize every child, we can finish the job of eradicating this evil disease everywhere, once and for all.”
Anthony Lake, Executive Director, UNICEF

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