August 21, 2019
On the 21st August 2019, Nigeria marked three consecutive years since the last case of Wild Polio was identified in Borno state, North Eastern part of Nigeria. Indeed this is considered to be a monumental achievement for the country as she works towards been certified free of wild Polio by 2020. However, this can only be attained if the Africa Regional Certification Commission (ARCC) on polio eradication is satisfied with the results on success achieved towards polio eradication efforts.
On this day, the World Press Conference event was held in Abuja, Nigeria themed ‘Three Years Without Wild Polio Virus Case in Nigeria' organised by the National Primary Health Care Development Agency. It was attended by key international development partners in the fight of polio eradication including JICA, World Health Organisation, UNICEF, USCDC, Rotary International, Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation (BMGF), USAID, and the German Embassy.
JICA's support to Nigeria on polio eradication commenced in 2000 with a grant aid project to procure Oral Polio Vaccines and to establish cold chain for the vaccine, followed by a loan totalling 8.25 billion yen to procure OPV to efficiently immunize children under-five years of age throughout Nigeria. This project incorporates an innovative loan conversion mechanism in collaboration with the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. Since the project met all performance trigger indicators successful during implementation, the BMGF is now repaying back the loan on behalf of the Government of Nigeria.
Also, as a form of technical assistance, JICA trained laboratory officials of the WHO Polio Laboratories in Ibadan and Maiduguri which involved the dispatch of experts from Japan to conduct assessment as well as training in laboratory equipment maintenance. During this project, High Efficiency Particulate Air (HEPA) filters of some bio safety cabinets were changed and smoke testers provided to these Polio laboratories. JICA also has provided trainings to foster Nigerian Polio researchers.
JICA will continue to support the Government of Nigeria to tackle infectious diseases through detection, preparedness and response support mechanisms. With its upcoming projects in collaboration with the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control ( NCDC) to build a Biosafety Level 3 laboratory in Abuja and also provide capacity building and training support to the centre's staffs.
For more details on JICA's health project activities, please contact: Ryota Kinouchi on Kinouchi.Ryota3@jica.go.jp and Damilola Graham-Douglas on Douglas-Damilola@jica.go.jp