The federal Government has set a 24 months target for eradication of polio in the country.
To achieve this, a Special Federal Government Team is to be constituted to oversee all activities in this direction.
President Goodluck Jonathan announced this on Thursday when he received the founder of Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, Mr. Bill Gates and other members of his team at the State House in Abuja.
President Jonathan said the special team will work with the Foundation, states and local governments as well as traditional rulers to sustain the reduction in polio cases until the disease is completely eradicated from Nigeria.
“I can assure you that we will work very hard on polio with the objective of eradicating it in the next twenty-four months. It is now limited to about six states and eradicating it within our tenure is a goal we will pursue with full commitment,” the president said.
Thanking Mr. Gates for the support his foundation has been rendering towards the eradication of polio in Nigeria, President Jonathan also pledged that his administration will do all within its powers to ensure that the disease is speedily eradicated so that the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation can turn its attention to assisting Nigeria in other areas such as agricultural development.
He added that his administration will also welcome greater collaboration with the foundation in its efforts to improve health-care delivery in Nigeria and drastically reduce the large number of Nigerians who seek medical care abroad annually.
In his remark, Mr. Gates told president Jonathan that he had spent most of the week in Nigeria reviewing the progress made on the polio eradication campaign.
He said his foundation was very impressed with president Jonathan’s agenda for national transformation, especially the prioritization of agricultural development and commitment to exploring new ways of tapping into private sector energy to boost agricultural production.