By Maureen Ojinaka
Enugu – The Rotary International has continued its fight against polio virus by immunising 107 children between age zero to five years in Enugu, Enugu state.
The international humanitarian organisation also erected two `End Polio Now’ billboards in the state capital for continued awareness on the need to eradicate the virus.
The billboards are located at the popular “Otigba’’ junction, New Haven, as well as at Government Technical College gate, on Abakaliki Road.
Unveiling the billboards on Thursday, the District Governor of Rotary International District 9142, Dr Dan Ajawara, said that the activities carried out by Rotary International were to mark the 2018 World Polio Day.
Ajawara traced the history of global polio eradication efforts to a polio immunisation programme organised by Rotarians in Philippines in 1979, which had about six million children immunised against the virus.
“Rotary eventually went into partnership with the World Health Organisation, UNICEF, U.S. Centre for Disease Control and governments of various countries toward eradicating polio virus globally,’’ he said.
The governor informed Rotarians that the job was 99.9 per cent done, with only three countries still being endemic to the disease adding that these countries are: Afghanistan, Pakistan and Nigeria.
“The last case of Polio was recorded in Nigeria in Borno State on Aug. 21, 2016.
“If no new Polio case is recorded in Nigeria within the next 10 months, then Nigeria will be taken off the Polio endemic countries list,’’ he noted.
In his remarks, Dr Eddy Ndibuagu, Chairman, Rotary International District 9142 PolioPlus Committee, charged Rotarians to always be focused and play active roles in the global four strategic approaches toward eradicating polio from our world.
“These approaches are Routine Immunisation, Supplemental Immunisation, Acute Flaccid Paralysis Surveillance and Mop-up activities.
“However, I have great joy that Rotarians in the seven states that make up District 9142 (Enugu, Abia, Akwa Ibom, Anambra, Cross Rivers, Ebonyi, and Imo) are indeed highly committed to the Global Polio Eradication Initiative,’’ Ndibuagu noted.
In a goodwill message, Dr Ada Erinne, World Health Organisation (WHO), Enugu State Co-ordinator, noted that WHO had worked very hard with Rotary International since 1988 when the Global Polio Eradication Initiative began.
Erinne said that WHO would continue to partner Rotary International until the disease was eradicated from the face of the earth.
In another goodwill message, Enugu State Commissioner for Health, Dr Fintan Ekochin, encouraged Rotarians to keep working harder towards the eradication of Polio in Nigeria and globally until the disease would no more be found in any part of the world.
Ekochin, however, inaugurated the distribution of gift item activities put in place by the 15 Rotary clubs in Enugu State.
The Enugu State PolioPlus Representative, Dr Obinna Anikwe, reminded Rotary clubs in Enugu State of their adopted Local Government Areas for polio immunisation.
Anikwe also urged them to participate actively in the ongoing Maternal Newborn and Child Health Week (MNCHW) in the state while ensuring impressive immunisation coverage in those council areas.
Highlights of the event included a 2-kilometre `End Polio Now’ road walk where leaflets on Polio Eradication Initiative were distributed.
The road walk was carried out by Rotarians, who were accompanied by Rotaractors, 50 cyclists and 50 students of Solid Base Private Schools.
Care-givers that also brought their children for immunisation were given gift items such as Indomie noodles, sanitary papers and toilet soaps.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that Oct. 24, had been set aside as the World Polio Day.
The day was set aside to create awareness and highlight the compelling need to permanently rid the world of poliomyelitis, a disease that had crippled and killed a lot of children in the world especially developing nations. (NAN)