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Did Buhari really fulfill his promise of kicking out polio in Nigeria?

On Tuesday, The independent Africa Regional Certification Commission for Polio Eradication, announced that the World Health Organisation African Region was free of the poliovirus

Did Buhari really fulfill his promise of kicking out polio in Nigeria?

Zainab Iwayemi

Claim

On Tuesday, The independent Africa Regional Certification Commission for Polio Eradication announced that the World Health Organisation African Region was free of the poliovirus.

A sequel to this, a tweet by the personal assistant on new media to the president, Bashir Ahmad (@BashirAhmaad) affirmed that ”Nigeria is officially polio free’. The tweet further credited the success of polio wipe-out in Nigeria to the incumbent government; President Muhammad Buhari’s administration. According to Bashir Ahmad, ‘President Muhammadu Buhari has fulfilled his promise of kicking out the disease in Nigeria.

Nigeria is officially polio-free today. President Muhammadu Buhari has fulfilled his promise of kicking out the disease in Nigeria.

— Bashir Ahmad (@BashirAhmaad) August 25, 2020

Roundcheck findings

Polio from poliomyelitis is a viral disease that is spread through contacts between people — mostly oral and nasal. It is most common in children under five years of age. And the effect could be endangering; ranging from disability to death, depending on its gravity in the system.

Africa recorded more than 75,000 cases of the virus in 1996 across all 54 countries and this became a major concern for leaders thereby triggering Nelson Mandela, to start a campaign targeted at mobilizing health workers all over the nooks and crannies of the continent. Luckily, the campaign was supported by the organizations such as Rotary International; hence, the successful aversion of over a million cases in the following decades.

Through thick and thin, health workers have remained on the frontline, ensuring that every corner of the continent, is covered in the vaccination of children against the virus. In Nigeria, setbacks include religious beliefs as well as terrorist attacks mostly in the northern part. In fact, in 2003, some northern  Nigeria — Kano inclusive had to suspend vaccination when a rumor circulated that the vaccine contained anti-fertility to control childbirth. Luckily the rumor was laid to rest through laboratory tests and normalcy soon resumed. after a decade, the rumor resurfaced thus; causing the death of some health workers in the northern part. See here

In July 2014, during Jonathan’s administration, it was reported that a full year had gone without any case of polio. This became a major achievement for Nigeria until new cases were detected in Borno State, Nigeria in 2016, in the wake of President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration, making Nigeria the last and only country in Africa to get rid of the pandemic. This again awaken the will of health workers and Nigerians.

Luckily, the long-awaited declaration was made on 25th August 2020, certifying that the country is polio-free. See here

Individuals and organization that has helped in the fight against polio eradication

The World Health Organization (WHO), the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) and the Rotary Foundation, are foremost organizations in the fight against polio. Additionally, The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC),  Alongside The Gates Foundation, have spearheaded the campaign through the Global Polio Eradication Initiative (GPEI) with many other organization and counties inclusive.

In Nigeria, the current and past governments, as well as Africa’s biggest tycoon, Aliko Dangote as well as health organizations have supported the combat against the pandemic.

Conclusion

It is true President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration has recorded a wipe-out of poliomyelitis an endangering viral disease posing threat to health of children, as certified by the Independent Africa Regional Certification Commission, what is however misleading, is the affiliation of the credit solely to the incumbent administration. 

The statement of Bashir Ahmad could be quoted thus;  ‘Buhari has fulfilled his promise of kicking out the disease in nigeria’ in his tweet

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