It was quite a historic moment for the world, especially so for Nigeria, as it was declared Polio free by the United Nations Children’s Fund, UNICEF. The effect of that declaration still ripples down to all nooks and crannies of the country.
I was particularly pleased, considering that such a major feat was achieved at this moment in the history of Nigeria. While the whole world jubilation was on, I still thought about other numerous African countries still experiencing the effects of the deadly disease.
Polio, caused by polio virus, affects mainly children. This highly infectious viral disease is transmitted from person-to-person via faeco-oral route. It could also be transmitted through contaminated food or water, from where it grows in the small intestine and eventually spreads to the nervous systems, eventually causing paralysis.
Understanding the crucial role the mirror free Nigeria has on the rest of the countries in Africa, the UNICEF is quite optimistic that Africa would soon be polio free. UNICEF puts it succinctly in its recent tweet earlier today;
Nigeria should continue to show it’s leadership position by leading a helping hand to other poorer African Countries, by way of financial support or training of those affected countries’ Healthcare workers.
More importantly is the fact that continuous vaccination, routine or otherwise, should be continued across the length of Africa.
Foreign agencies, like UNICEF, can only do so much. But the true solution of Africa’s problems lie with Africans. I think Nigeria’s story should be an eye opener for others to follow.