TIME named Nigerian physician, Dr. Tunji Funsho, among 2020 TIME100, its annual list of the 100 most influential people in the world.
The list, now in its 17th year, recognises the activism, innovation and achievement of the world’s most influential individuals.
Dr. Funsho, a cardiologist based in Lagos, Nigeria, is the first Rotary member to receive this honour for the organisation’s work to eradicate polio, having played an essential role in ensuring Africa’s certification as wild polio-free in August.
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“I am honoured to be recognised by TIME for my part in ensuring that no child in Africa will ever again be paralysed by wild polio, a disease that once disabled 75,000 African children every single year,” said Dr. Funsho.
“Eradicating the wild poliovirus in Africa was a team effort that required cooperation and dedication of governments, partners, Rotary members, hundreds of thousands of health workers, and countless parents who chose to have their children vaccinated against polio.”
As the leader of Rotary’s Nigeria National PolioPlus Committee, Funsho has worked alongside Rotary members throughout the country to raise awareness about the importance of polio immunisation, encouraged governments and public figures to support polio eradication, and served as a vocal leader and advocate for Rotary’s fight to end polio in Africa.
Funsho also worked with Rotary’s partners in the Global Polio Eradication Initiative, GPEI: World Health Organisation, WHO; UNICEF; the U.S. Centre for Disease Control and Prevention; Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, and Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance.
As a member of Nigeria’s Presidential Task Force on Polio, he has coordinated immunisation and advocacy campaigns with the Minister of State for Health and the Inter-Agency Coordination Committee for Polio Eradication.
Funsho has also worked closely with the Sir Emeka Offor Foundation, the Dangote Foundation, the Traditional Leaders Council and the Federation of Muslim Women’s Association of Nigeria.