Nigeria appeals for more resources to end transmission of Wild Poliovirus

22 April 2002 -- Nigeria requires an estimated budget of about US$ 53.4 million to implement its polio eradication activities this year. The country and nine others, where wild poliovirus is still transmitted, have till the end of this year to stop its transmission, to pave way for eradication of polio and certification of a polio-free world in 2005.

However, of this amount, about US$ 38.4 million has been realised in actual funds and pledges from Government and its Partners in the Polio Eradication Initiative, leaving a funding gap of about US$15 million.

These figures were given by Mr. Deboh Akin-Akintunde, a member of the finance and budget sub-committee of the Interagency Coordinating Committee (ICC) on Immunization during a briefing at a donors' luncheon in honour of Dr. Yasuhiro Suzuki, Executive Director, Health Technology and Pharmaceuticals, World Health Organization (WHO), Geneva who visited the country over the weekend.

Speaking at the occasion, the Minister of State for Health, Dr. (Mrs.) Amina Ndalolo who was represented by Dr. (Mrs.) Dere Awosika, National Coordinator/Chief Executive of the National Programme on Immunization (NPI) said Nigeria had been lucky to have donors who had contributed immensely to the programme. The Minister appealed to donors to contribute towards this shortfall, so that the job that is left can be finished successfully. While assuring that Nigeria stands for transparency and honesty, she added that the country was ready to stop the transmission of wild poliovirus by the end of this year, and consequently eradicate polio for the benefit of the Nigerian child.

The Minister said that Dr. Suzuki's visit was an honour to the programme, and thanked WHO and other donors for their financial and technical assistance.

Also making a similar appeal for more donations, Senator Arthur Nzeribe, Chairman, Senate Committee on Health thanked all the donors who had contributed to the current success achieved by the programme, and urged them to contribute more to meet the funding gap, so that the objectives of the Polio Eradication Initiative are achieved.

In his speech, Dr. Yasuhiro Suzuki congratulated the Nigerian Government and people for their commitment to polio eradication and the success recorded so far. He noted that with the end of polio in sight, the new challenge is to use the polio eradication initiative to strengthen the country's health system and routine immunization, among others.

Dr. Suzuki promised that WHO would continue to advocate and mobilize resources for polio eradication, noting that the Director-General, Dr. Gro Harlem Brundtland was committed to this.

For more information, please contact Mr. Austine Oghide, NPO/HIP, 
WHO, 443 Herbert Macaulay Road, 
Yaba, Lagos. 
Tel (234)1 5453662-3; 2903276-7; 7737092-3.
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