The Vice President Kashim Shettima, alongside several governors, reiterated their commitment to eradicate the variant poliovirus in Nigeria by the end of the year during a meeting at the Presidential Villa in Abuja. Emphasizing Nigeria’s unwavering determination, Shettima affirmed the nation’s relentless pursuit of eliminating polio.
In addition, Shettima highlighted the notable progress made in Nigeria’s three-dose pentavalent vaccine coverage, which increased from 33% in 2016 to 57% in 2021.
Shettima stated, “Our objective is to ensure timely domestic financing for vaccine procurement, bolstering our industrial capacity for vaccine production.”
He further disclosed that the incidence of the variant poliovirus in Nigeria had declined by 84% in 2021, with cases dropping to fewer than 200 in 2022. Shettima emphasized the need for a transparent process and structure to address the country’s long-standing issue of a significant proportion of non-immunized infants.
The commitment of the federal government to eradicate the variant poliovirus by year-end and extend routine immunization campaigns to cover every Nigerian child was underscored. Shettima specifically mentioned reaching zero-dose children, of which Nigeria has the highest number globally, second only to India, with 2 million children.
During the meeting, Microsoft Founder Bill Gates reiterated his foundation’s dedication to providing $7 billion of funding to Africa over the next four years. Aliko Dangote, former Africa’s richest man, highlighted the longstanding partnership between his foundation, Bill Gates, and the Nigerian federal and state governments in supporting polio eradication, as well as efforts to improve routine immunization, nutrition, and primary healthcare in the country.