11/08/2015

Rotary honours 90 Polio heroes



Ninety field workers helping to vaccinate millions of children across Nigeria were honored by Rotary International to commemorate a record 16 months without any new case of wild poliovirus.

The 90 Polio Heroes, as they have been named, include vaccinators, supervisors, data analysts, religious leaders and community volunteers who have helped to  "pave the way to the zero-case status," said Rotary's Nigeria National Polio Plus Committee.
The committee's chairman Dr Tunji Funsho said, "We are also remembering profoundly the sacrifices made by the Polio Heroes, especially the nine young women in Kano and three in Borno states that were targeted and killed by gunmen in separate incidents in 2012 and 2013 while working on Polio vaccination campaigns and many others who were kidnapped while trying to vaccinate children in northern states."
"We want to recognise and thank our foot soldiers in the small communities, in our villages," said Funsho. “We also want to motivate them to continue working as they have helped us to reach the milestone we have just crossed."

"They are the reason why we are able to celebrate a Nigeria that has no polio," he added.
The 90 award recipients come from Borno, Kano, Kaduna, Katsina, Sokoto and Zamfara, where surveillance has heightened to track immunized children, monitor environmental samples of the virus and sustain ongoing immunization of children to ensure the disease is eradicated by 2017. 

Rotary, which advocates and raises funds for polio eradication, has contributed over $1.4 billion in philanthropic spending for Polio immunisation in the past 26 years. 
Wide vaccination has helped reduce the presence of polio to Pakistan and Afghanistan, down from 125 countries in 1988, with Nigeria expected to be free of the virus soon. 
Polio Heroes working at local government levels helped Rotarians reach local political leaders to advocate more spending for polio eradication. 
No local government area has reported a case of type 1 wild poliovirus this year, compared with five areas before the last case wa recorded in July last year. 
Type 2 of the virus has not been recorded in the last 18 years and the last record of type 3 was 35 months ago. 
Post Polio Litaff, Association A.C _APPLAC Mexico

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