By Miriam Humbe
The World Health Organisation (WHO), African Regional Office has honoured the Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Industry, Trade and Investment, Dr. Nasir Sani Gwarzo, with an exemplary meritorious award for innovative strategy adopted by WHO to eradicate polio and strengthen immunisation programme in Africa which contributed immensely towards the reduction of Polio Cases and ultimate achievement of polio eradication not only in Nigeria but globally.
The World Health Organisation, Representative in Nigeria Mr Clement Peter, disclosed this while presenting the Award to Dr. Nasir Sani – Gwarzo mni on behalf of the WHO Africa Regional Office, Congo Brazzaville, in Abuja.
According to him, the Award is in recognition of the tremendous contribution of Gwarzo in the fight to eradicate polio and improve immunization in Africa which is a monumental landmark in achieving Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in Nigeria saying that he is among the pioneer that will make polio free Nigeria by June,2020.
Mr. Clement stressed that “today we are celebrating the work that Dr. Nasir Sani -Gwarzo has done in the Health Sector that contributed to his success that made President Muhammadu Buhari to give him a portfolio as Permanent Secretary in the Federal Ministry of Industry, Trade and Investment” he added.
He said, he worked with Immunization Programme at a time when we didn’t know much about the Community engagement, risk Communication as well as how to reach the most difficult task in terms of convincing people to accept vaccine as the only way to prevent polio.
He further said, He worked with traditional rulers, religious leaders as well as women groups to make polio vaccine acceptable to the public stressing that,” today most of the Countries in Africa do not have the virus because of the work people like Dr. Sani –Gwarzo mni did to stop the spread of the disease not only in Nigeria but globally” he added.
In his acceptance speech, the Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Industry, Trade and Investment Dr Nasir Sani- Gwarzo mni, said I am really happy for this day and this particular event because, it is not something that I had thought of really.
Dr. Gwarzo said, at the beginning the award was not the paramount thing, what made the difference was their belief in the innovations. In 2008, Nigeria was abused openly for spreading polio, and Kano State where I come from was the worst hit State in Nigeria because its where polio is being spread, I developed 3 prompt strategy plan and Immediately WHO saw it they gave me an appointment.