Bill Gates, the co-chair of the Gates Foundation, in felicitating with Nigeria and the rest of Africa on the achievement of ridding the continent of polio-virus, cautioned that the progress against the virus must be protected to prevent a resurgence.
MERIDIAN SPY reported Tuesday, the independent Africa Regional Certification Commission (ARCC) for polio eradication officially declared Nigeria and the rest of Africa free of indigenous wild poliovirus.
At the certificate presentation ceremony on Tuesday, Gates described the success against the poliovirus as “a historic milestone in the public health triumph for Africa”.
The billionaire businessman, however, warned that similar success is yet to be achieved in Pakistan and Afghanistan, and as such can still return, hence the need to protect the progress made in Africa.
“Thirty years ago, more than 40 people worldwide contracted polio every hour. Even in 1996, wild polio paralyzed more than 75,000 children across Africa. Today wild polio in Africa is gone,” he said.
“This is a historic milestone in the public health triumph for Africa, one that has, and would continue to give dividends in the fight against diseases like Ebola and COVID-19.
“We are not done yet, of course, now more than ever it is important to protect the progress we’ve made. We still have to beat wild polio in Pakistan and Afghanistan because until polio is gone everywhere, it can still return.
“In the global polio program has to contend with another less common type of polio (cVDPV). These viruses continue to spread in a number of countries, mostly in Africa, and require coordinated efforts and financial support to end them too.
“Let’s be clear today is an amazing achievement that is going to mean a world of good for the children of Africa. The kids I met in Lagos with routine immunization now T-shirts, in clinics in Sokoto and in Abuja, they are that much closer to a world without polio.”