President Muhammadu Buhari on Tuesday directed the Federal Ministries of Health and Information to reinvigorate strategies in concert with state governments, to ensure that Nigeria is finally certified polio free by 2017.
He gave the directive while receiving the World Health Organization (WHO) Regional Director for Africa, Dr. Matshidiso Rebecca Moeti at the State House, Abuja.
He also said international partnerships were needed to sustain Nigeria’s polio-free status.
Buhari, in a statement issued by his Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity, Garba Shehu, said: ‘‘We have not recorded any case of polio in the last two years but we should not be complacent.
‘‘The breakdown of law and order in the Northeast has posed challenges to regular immunization. The condition of children in Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) camps around the country is very pathetic.
‘‘But I know that the Federal and state governments in partnership with international organizations and NGOs are doing so much to provide healthcare, rebuild infrastructure and facilitate voluntary return of displaced persons to their communities.”
The President told the visiting WHO envoy, who was accompanied by Nigeria’s Minister of Health, Prof Isaac Adewole and the Minister of State, Dr. Osagie Ehanire, that his administration would continue to accord priority to healthcare through regular funding of public health related programmes.
Under the federal government health intervention programme, the Federal Ministry of Health will provide free surgery to 10,000 poor and needy Nigerians who are registered with the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS).
The programme, which will commence on July 18, in 46 health facilities across the country, will also extend free breast and cervical cancer tests to 18,000 Nigerians and free diabetes and hypertension tests for 500,000 Nigerians.
In her remarks, Dr. Moeti commended the federal government’s health programme and pledged continued support of the organization on health development in Nigeria.