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Polio-Free Status: Buhari writes “Letters of Appreciation’’ to Osinbajo, Sultan, World leaders

President Muhammadu Buhari has written world leaders and partners to appreciate their support towards helping Nigeria attain a Wild Polio Virus (WPV) free status.

In a statement by his Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity, Malam Garba Shehu, in Abuja on Friday Buhari pledged that his administration would sustain the momentum and strengthen the primary health care system.

He also commended Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo, Chairman Presidential Taskforce on Polio Eradication, and his team, for making Nigeria proud and saving her children from the scourge of poliomyelitis.

The president’s letter to Osinbajo read in part: ‘‘This is to express our profound appreciation for your leadership of the Presidential Taskforce on Polio Eradication and Routine Immunization.

‘‘The declaration of Nigeria as a Wild Polio free country is the result of your effective coordination of the Nigerian Polio eradication program through the Presidential Taskforce on Polio Eradication and Routine Immunization, Federal Ministry of Health and the National Primary Health Care Development Agency.

‘‘Please extend my personal appreciation to all members of the Presidential Taskforce on Polio Eradication for making Nigeria proud and saving her children from the scourge of Poliomyelitis.

‘‘I urge the Taskforce under your leadership to sustain this coordination especially in mobilizing State Governors to provide the needed oversight and resources to sustain the momentum and strengthen the primary health care system by improving routine immunization, maternal, newborn and child health services.

‘‘I urge you to sustain the momentum as I look forward to us leveraging on the polio infrastructure and experience to drive other health interventions.’’

The President also wrote a separate letter to German Chancellor Angela Merkel, thanking the European country for decades of financial support to Polio Eradication Initiative (PEI) programme in Nigeria through KfW.

‘‘Please be assured that my Government will remain committed and focused to ensuring the needed resources will be provided to sustain the momentum and strengthen the primary health care system of our great Country,’’ the President said in his letter to Chancellor Merkel.

President Buhari also thanked traditional and religious leaders, who through their leadership built community trust for the polio programme thereby increasing acceptance and ensuring all eligible children are reached with the polio vaccine.

Specifically, he wrote Alhaji Muhammad Saad III, Sultan of Sokoto, the leadership of Jama’atul-Nasirl Islam (JNI) and the President, Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN).

The President also wrote separate letters of appreciation to Bill Gates, the European Union, Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Director-General, World Health Organization, Dr. Robert R. Redfield, Director, U.S Centers for Disease Control and Prevention,

The Nigerian leader also wrote similar `thank you’ letters to the Executive Director, United Nations Children’s Fund, Dr. Henrietta Fore;  David Malpass,  President, World Bank Group and the acting Administrator, United States Agency for International Development, John Barsa.

Others are, Global Affairs Canada, Professor Shinichi Kitaoka, President, Japan International Cooperation Agency, and the International President, Rotary International.

President Buhari also appreciated the support of Alhaji Aliko Dangote, Chairman Aliko Dangote Foundation,  Sir (Dr) Emeka Offor and Gov. Kayode Fayemi, in his capacity as the Chairman, Nigeria Governors Forum.

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