Rotary Donates USD8.1m To End Polio In Nigeria
As Nigeria mark six months without a new polio case, the Rotary International has donated USD8.1 million in grant to help the country end its final war against polio within her borders.
The World Health Organization (WHO) and UNICEF will use the funds to support polio immunization campaigns; research and surveillance in the country.
Nigeria is the last polio endemic in Africa, and she reported the highest number of polio cases in the world as recently as 2012. In 2014 the country showed a remarkable progress when it reduce polio counts by 90% over the previous year.
“Nigeria has made incredible progress against polio this past year and I’m proud to see our country reduced cases by nearly 90% in 2014,” said Funke Akindele, Nollywood actress and Rotary polio ambassador. “With funds from Rotary, the continued support of Rotarians in Nigeria and around the world, I believe there will be a day when no child in Nigeria will be at risk of this disease.”
“Nigeria has managed an incredible feat,” said Dr. Tunji Funsho, Rotary’s National PolioPlus Chair for Nigeria. “Our country has gone six months without a new case of the disease. However, now we must be more vigilant than ever, as our progress is fragile.”
Commitment from all levels of the Nigerian government to ending the paralyzing disease has proved crucial to the country’s recent progress. Experts urge political leaders to maintain this focus, even amidst Nigeria’s upcoming national elections next month.
In addition to the $8.1 million in funds for Nigeria, Rotary has committed $18.5 million to be divided amongst an additional seven countries in Africa. The grants include $1.6 million, Cameroon: $2.5 million, Chad; $3.3 million, Democratic Republic of Congo; $1.1 million, Ethiopia; $250,000, Kenya; $2.8 million, Niger; and $7 million, Somalia.
Meanwhile, Rotary also announced grants of $1.1 million for Pakistan and $6.7 million for Afghanistan. Together with Nigeria, Pakistan and Afghanistan are the two other countries in the world where polio has never been stopped.
Rotary has been making a lot of effort to stop polio disease; it has contributed more than $1.3 billion to fight polio. Through 2018, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation will match two-to-one every dollar Rotary commits to polio eradication (up to $35 million a year).