President Muhammadu Buhari has expressed optimism that African countries can defeat COVID-19 the same way they wiped out wild poliovirus from the continent with the right political will.
He spoke on Tuesday at the formal certification of African region being free of wild poliovirus during the virtual session of the 70th World Health Organisation (WHO) regional committee for Africa.
The President, in a statement by his Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Mr Femi Adesina, expressed faith in the African leaders, urging everyone to remain committed to the fight to defeat COVID-19 in their various countries.
Expressing delight in success that the African continent had made of the fight against wild poliovirus, the President recalled his pledge, when he newly assumed office in 2015, which was to handover a polio-free country to whoever his successor would be.
I recall that shortly after assuming office in May 2015, I made a pledge to Nigerians that I would not bequeath a polio-endemic country to my successor. This certification is, therefore, a personal fulfillment of that pledge to not only Nigerians, but to all Africans.
The President in his remarks celebrating the historic feat added;
At a time when the global community is battling the COVID-19 pandemic, this achievement strengthens my conviction that with the requisite political will, investments and strategies, as well as citizens’ commitment, we will flatten the epidemic curve. I can affirm the commitment of all African leaders to this course of action.
President Buhari assured the global community that Nigeria will sustain the momentum and leverage on the lessons learnt from polio eradication to strengthen her health system, especially primary health care, and prioritize health security.
He revealed that Nigeria used data systems, community engagement and innovative technology to monitor and predict the occurrence of polio outbreaks, adding that these same skills.
The President stressed that tools are being used to fight COVID-19 and the multi-country outbreaks of Circulating Vaccine Derived Polio Viruses.
President Buhari, who described the achievement as a truly historic moment, commended President Cyril Ramaphosa of South Africa and Chairman of the African Union, under whose leadership, Africa crossed the finishing line.
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