WHO certifies Nigeria Guinea Worm free

Former U.S. President Jimmy Carter tries to comfort 6-year-old Ruhama Issah at Savelugu Hospital as a Carter Center technical assistant dresses Issah's extremely painful Guinea worm wound.

President Jonathan received the certificate of the WHO.

Nigeria has been certified as a Guinea Worm Free Country by the World Health Organisation (WHO).

The WHO certificate was presented to President Goodluck Jonathan by Health Minister, Onyebuchi Chukwu, at a pre- Federal Executive Council (FEC) meeting event held Wednesday afternoon at the council chambers of the Presidential Villa, Abuja.

Responding to the achievement, Mr. Jonathan said it is a milestone which also coincides with the period the country marks its centenary. He said it confirms the government’s efforts at ensuring that the country is rid of all kinds of endemic.

“The certification by WHO is a global recognition of how far we have come and the success of the work that has been done to rid our nation of this scourge,” the president said. “Eradication of guinea worm disease that has long plagued many parts of our country has placed interminable burden on our citizens and as a government we have been working very hard and today we have received the good news.”

According to him, a lot has been achieved on wild polio and more would be attained in the next few months.

“Just as we have fought the incidence of guinea worm and succeeded so are we committed in our fight against many endemic diseases such as HIV AIDs, Malaria, Tuberculosis and of course polio.

“While polio is yet to be eliminated in our country, we have seen the impressive results in the control of wild polio virus type 3 transmission as well s reduction of about 50 per cent cases of wild polio type1 in 2013 compared to 2012. Similarly no new cases of wild polio virus has been reported in the last 3 months.

“We are hopeful that transmission of wild polio will be interrupted this year, at least before the end of the year “.

President Jonathan also appreciated partners, stakeholders, and the task force on Nigeria Guinea Worm Centre for their contributions to the success.

Nigeria established the Nigeria Guinea Worm Eradication Programme (NIGEP) in 1988 and on November 2008 recorded its last case of the Guinea Worm Disease (GWD).

According to the Minister for Health who spoke shortly before handing the certificate to the President, “from 2008 till date, over 900 GWD rumour reports have been received and investigated nationwide, none was found to be GWD”.


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