President Muhammadu Buhari has expressed hope that African countries can equally defeat the coronavirus pandemic the same manner it eradicated the Wild Polio Virus on the continent.
The president said this Tuesday at the formal certification of the Wild Polio Virus eradication in the African region during the virtual session of the 70th World Health Organisation (WHO) regional committee for Africa.
“I recall that shortly after assuming office in May 2015, I made a pledge to Nigerians that I would not bequeath a polio-endemic country to my successor. This certification is, therefore, a personal fulfillment of that pledge to not only Nigerians, but to all Africans.
“At a time when the global community is battling the COVID-19 pandemic, this achievement strengthens my conviction that with the requisite political will, investments and strategies, as well as citizens’ commitment, we will flatten the epidemic curve. I can affirm the commitment of all African leaders to this course of action,” he said.
The president assured the global community that Nigeria would sustain the momentum and leverage on the lessons learnt from polio eradication to strengthen her health system, especially primary health care, and prioritise health security.
He said Nigeria used data systems, community engagement and innovative technology to monitor and predict the occurrence of polio outbreaks, adding that these same skills and tools were being used to fight COVID-19 and the multi-country outbreaks of Circulating Vaccine Derived Polio Viruses.
The president, who described the achievement as a truly historic moment, commended President Cyril Ramaphosa of South Africa and Chairman of the African Union, under whose leadership, Africa crossed the finishing line.