Country Representative of the World Health Organisation, WHO, Dr. Rui Gamma Vaz, has warned Nigeria not to relent or go to sleep, following its removal from the list of polio endemic countries.
He warned that the fight against wild polio virus in Nigeria is not over and that all stakeholders must be on alert so that they can maintain the present status quo enjoyed by the country.
Dr. Vaz, who made this known at the annual administrative review of support staff held in Kaduna, yesterday, warned that the announcement by the Director of WHO, Dr. Margaret Chan, that Nigeria is no more an endemic case in respect of wild polio virus should not be taken for granted because the country has not been certified polio free and that will only come after two years if no new case of wild polio virus is recorded.
He said all field officers and stakeholders should ensure that this new feat achieved by Nigeria is maintained.
According to him, “we, as stakeholders, should first of all commend ourselves for working tirelessly to earn the country its new status. Our development partners also contributed immensely, especially the Kaduna State government by assisting with grassroots campaign to eradicate the wild polio virus.
“However let me sound this note of warning that Nigeria should not go back to sleep because of the announcement by the director of WHO, rather all hands must be on deck to ensure that this great feat is achieved and that is only when field officers can say yes we have kicked out wild polio virus from the country,” Vaz said.
In his remarks, the operational officer, Mr. Kofi Agbewonu, said the meeting was aimed at recalling some important events in the activities and functions of field officers.
He further added that the Nigerian office is the largest in terms of staff, budget allocation to country operations and the highest number of imprest account managed by WHO country office.
Kaduna State Governor, Malam Nasir Ahmad El-Rufai, who was the chief host, said he is gladdened to meet the field officer, especially at this critical time.
El-Rufai, represented by the Commissioner for Health and Human Resources, Dr. Jonathan Andrew Nok, assured WHO that the state government will not relent in its efforts to ensure that Nigeria is finally certified as polio free.