Rotary gives $6.9 million to ensure Nigeria remains polio-free
The funds will be used to increase immunization availability and activities overseen by the Global Polio Eradication Initiative.
This year, the World Health Organization removed Nigeria from its list of countries experiencing polio endemics. The only countries still on the list are Afghanistan and Pakistan.
The last case of polio reported in Nigeria was on July 24, 2014, making it more than a year since any Nigerian samples have tested positive for wild polio virus.
"This achievement is a tribute to the hard work of countless health care workers, traditional leaders, over 400,000 volunteers and the government who managed to turn the program in Nigeria around by reaching over 45 million children repeatedly with polio vaccines," Rotary International said.
After smallpox, polio will likely become the second human disease to be eradicated worldwide.
"To date, Rotary has helped 194 countries stop the transmission of polio through the mass immunization of children," Rotary International said. "Rotary’s new funding commitment, announced in advance of the Oct. 24 observance of World Polio Day 2015, targets countries where children remain at risk of contracting this incurable, but vaccine-preventable, disease."
Still, Tunji Funsho, chairman of Rotary's Nigeria National Polio Plus Committee, called for continued vigilance in the fight against polio.
“No child is safe from the polio virus until no more polio virus exists on this planet,” he said.