WHO gives Nigeria Guinea Worm-free Certificate
… Jonathan applauds country's new status
The World Health Organisation (WHO) has given Nigeria a clean bill of health as far as Guinea worm infection is concerned, just as President Goodluck Jonathan has appraised the heartening development to be of good omen for the country.
President Jonathan stated that the Guinea Warm free certificate will further spur his administration's commitment to fight against many endemic diseases such as HIV AIDs, Malaria, Tuberculosis and of course polio.
President Jonathan speaking this afternoon in Abuja commended the Federal Ministry of Health, and collaboration support of the Nigerian Guinea Worm Eradication Programme, the task-force handling it, the World Health Organisation, the CATA centre, the UNICEF and Yakubu Gowon centre, resulting the eradication of guinea worm disease in the country.
'We are please today to receive from the Director General, Dr. Margaret Chang, the certificate from the WHO indicating that Nigeria is now a guinea worm free country.
'We are specially delighted that this milestone coincides with the period we are marking our centenary as a nation. It is certainly a centenary gift to this country.
'The certification by WHO is a global recognition of how far we have come and the success of the work that has been done to rid our nation of this scourge.
'Eradication of guinea worm disease that has long plagued many parts of our country has placed interminable burden on our citizens and as a government we have been working very hard and today we have received the good news.
'Just as we have fought the incidence of guinea worm and succeeded so are we committed in our fight against many endemic diseases such as HIV AIDs, Malaria, Tuberculosis and of course polio.
'I am pleased that we are making appreciable progress on all these fronts on which considerable investment in terms of resources have been made.
'For instance in furtherance of our goal we hosted in July last year the Abuja+12 AU summit on HIV AIDs, Tuberculosis and malaria and other related diseases to renew Africa's commitment to fighting this pandemic.
'While polio is yet to be eliminated in our country, we have seen the impressive results in the control of wild polio virus type 3 transmission as well as reduction of about 50 per cent cases of wild polio type1 in 2013 compared to 2012. Similarly no new cases of wild polio virus has been reported in the last three months.
'We are hopeful that transmission of wild polio will be interrupted this year, at least before the end of the year .
While I congratulate the Federal Ministry of Health, the state government and our citizens for the dedicated work that has been done, that has led to eradication of guinea worm disease, I must at the same time express appreciation to all our partners and stakeholders who have given strong support to us in this common course.
'In particular I commend the collaboration and support of the Nigerian Guinea Worm Eradication Programme, the task-force handling it, the World Health Organisation, the CATA centre, the UNICEF and Yakubu Gowon centre.
'I have to re-emphasize that we will not rest on our oars, we will remain resolute in our efforts to upstairs the achievements recorded in making Nigeria a guinea worm free country. We will all apply the same determination to our quest to make Nigeria free of all other equally debilitating diseases'.
Minister of Health, Prof. Onyebuchi Chukwu noted that before the attainment of the guinea worm free nation, Nigeria has over 6000 cases of guinea worm cutting across over 500 communities or villages.
He recalled that the last guinea worm incidence was recorded in November 2008, in Izambo, Abakaliki.