By Abbas Aminu Bamalli
The continued fight to eliminate polio in Africa and Asia has received an additional 36 million dollars boost from Rotary in support of polio immunization activities and research, with Nigeria to receive 7.7 million dollars.
A release issued by African Press Organization (APO), said the immunization and the research is to be carried out by the Global Polio Eradication Initiative which aims to end the disabling viral disease worldwide by 2018.
The release said the funding commitment comes at a critical time as the eradication initiative focuses on stopping polio in the three countries where the virus remains endemic, which include Nigeria Afghanistan and Pakistan.
According to the release, stopping polio in those countries is crucial in order to halt the recent spate of outbreaks in countries where the disease had previously been beaten and where mass immunizations of children via the oral polio vaccine must continue until global eradication is achieved.
“The Rotary grants include 6.8 million dollars for Afghanistan, 7.7 million and 926,000 thousand dollars for Pakistan. Grant amounts are based on requests from eradication initiative partners UNICEF and the World Health Organization, which work with the governments of polio-affected countries to plan and carry out immunization activities”, the release said.
The release further said “UNICEF will use a grant of $2.73 million to bolster vaccination activities throughout the Horn of Africa as part of an on-going response to an outbreak that began in 2013 and has now infected more than 200 children.
“The so-called “imported” cases are linked to the strain of polio endemic to Nigeria, underscoring the need to stop the virus in the endemic countries”, the released revealed.