The proposed certification of Nigeria as a polio free country in August this year is gradually becoming a reality. The indication was given by the Chairman of the African Regional Commission for Certification of Polio Eradication, ARCC, Professor Rose Leke, in a meeting with the Nigeria team led by the ED/CEO of the National Primary Health Care Development Agency, NPHCDA and partners.

According to her, the commission, which is an organ of the World Health Organisation, WHO, has for the past years assessed the performance of the NPHCDA in polio eradication and the results have been quite impressive.

The Chairman said the commission has also assessed the documentation of the progress made so far as submitted by the NPHCDA and found that it tallies with the reality on ground, and therefore congratulated Nigeria on the feat.

“We went with you and saw the happenings in the fields all these years,” she said, adding that, “The ARCC has listened to your documentation, presentation and exhaustive responses to all those questions that were put… and we really want to congratulate and tell you that the documentation was accepted.” The ARCC commended the NPHCDA for achieving the milestone after years of battling with the Wild Polio Virus.

The Executive Director/CEO of NPHCDA, Dr. Faisal Shuaib, who was visibly elated by the development, said it was an amazing moment in history to have had the polio eradication documentation accepted by the ARCC. The Executive Director disclosed that the acceptance paves way for the country’s polio free status to be officially declared next month at a meeting of Ministers of Health in Africa.

He commended President Muhammadu Buhari for his support and foresight, saying “the leadership provided by Mr. President is mainly responsible for the rare achievement.”

He also commended traditional and religious leaders, partners, past presidents, ministers, ED/CEOs of NPHCDA/NPI, leaders in the public health space, the media, polio victims, parents and others for being the constant driving force and motivation behind the efforts of the frontline workers.