By Sola Ogundipe
The Federal Government has received a donation of health equipment valued at US$290,000 from the African Development Bank (AfDB) as support to address the current health challenges in the country, even as Nigeria pledged tyo ensure that it eradicates polio.
Receiving the equipment which include two ambulances, 30 Bajaj motorcycles, and 34 safety boxes from the Country Director of the World Health Organization, Dr.Rui Gama Vaz in Abuja, the Minister of Health Prof.Isaac Adewole said it would help Nigeria to prepare against any eventuality that may occur.
“We thank you very sincerely and we need more, this is just the beginning the whole World must be prepared for eventualities as global warming is bringing quite a number of challenges in the health sector , yesterday was Lassa, day before yesterday was Ebola today and tomorrow is Zika and we don’t know what would happen tomorrow and thereafter.
“The most important thing is that we must be prepared at all time, and this would help us to stay prepared and we still look forward to support our laboratories facilities and build the human system that would make the country ready for any epidemic.”
Responding, Gama Vaz said that the equipment that was purchased with fund from the AfDB as part of the Ebola response, was initially meantto curtail the spread of Ebola epidemic, however since Nigeria had succeeded in curtailing Ebola, it could be used to address other epidemics .
In a commendation, the Country Director AfDB, Ousmane Dore, stated: “We would like, on behalf of President, AfDB to express to you our sincere commendation for the way in which Nigerian Government was able to arrest the spread of the Ebola disease for which the Bank had earmarked some resources to help you in the fight.”
He said the quick response by Nigeria Government led international communities to be assured that the political will and determination of the government in the fight against Ebola was serious.
Ina related development, the Federal government has reaffirmed commitment towards ensuring that polio is eradicated from the country, saying that it would not allow any new outbreak with the appreciable progress in the interruption of the transmission of the wild polio virus in the country.
Giving the assertion in Abuja, during a meeting with Expert Review Committee (ERC) on Polio eradication, the Minister of Health said it would be a shame if the country recorded further outbreak of polio.
“With respect to funding even though we will not boast of taking care of all your needs but we will certainly do our best. Once we get approval, we will give you priority because it would be a shame to us if we have one single outbreak. I describe the Lassa outbreak as embarrassment it would become a shame if we have further outbreak of polio virus.”
“We are proud of you, we would continue to support you, you made us proud so the only thing we can do is to continue to play our role as a nation and with the support of Mr. President and international backing, we have no option than to succeed in the final eradication” ,he added
In a response, the chairman of the Committee Prof. Oyewale Tomori, said that the Committee was doing all it could to prevent polio coming back to Nigeria., and would not relent in its effort to ensure that Nigeria is polio free 2017.
In July 2015, the World Health Organization removed Nigeria from the list of polio endemic countries after 15 months without a single case of the polio virus in the country.
It is expected that if Nigeria sustains the momentum, by 2017 it would be certified a polio free country.