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Rotary International commits $14m grant to end polio in Nigeria



World Health Organization (WHO) has welcomed a new funding commitment made by Rotary International to support Nigeria in its efforts to eradicate all forms of polioviruses, especially the Circulating Variant Poliovirus (cVPV2), in the country.

The new grant, amounting to US$ 14 037 787 will cover a one year period to enable WHO to provide technical assistance to the Government of Nigeria on polio surveillance to avert a resurgence of wild polio, as well as to eradicate CVPVD2, which continues to pose a challenge in the country.

While Nigeria achieved the certification of being wild polio-free in August 2020, the nation is currently grappling with the presence of the cVPV2.

The Coordinating Minister of Health and Social Welfare, Professor Muhammad Ali Pate says “ The bigger picture is that you support surveillance, you strengthen the ability of this country to anticipate, investigate and respond to other infectious diseases that could threaten our national and global security.

We assure you that the resources would be utilized for the overall goal of enhancing health security in Nigeria”, he said.
Rotary International has been a viable partner to Nigeria in its quest to eradicate all forms of polio disease and ensure all eligible children receive immunization against the childhood disease.

As for this new grant, Rotary Foundation Trustees, at their January 2023 meeting, approved a grant of US$ 2 675 000 to support polio eradication in Nigeria through WHO Nigeria for surveillance. An additional grant of US$ 4 514 785 was approved by Rotary Foundation Trustees dated October 2023 for surveillance by WHO and finally on 10 January 2024 yet another grant was approved to the sum of US$ 6 848 002 for technical assistance.

All of these grants are of a one-year duration and must be effectively and fully utilized between 31 March 2024 and 2025.

The initiative by Rotary International to immunize all the children of the world against polio in 1985 led to the creation of the Global Polio Eradication Programme (GPEI) and this remains Rotary’s highest programmatic priority.

To date, Rotary has contributed more than US$ 1.5 billion to end polio, including more than US$ 500 million in grants to support polio eradication activities in Nigeria in the last ten years and countless volunteer hours by members of Rotary and Rotaract Clubs in Nigeria.

The WHO Country Representative in Nigeria, Dr Walter Kazadi Mulombo, says “Rotary International remains a core partner and founding leader for the GPEI efforts globally.”

Through strong partnerships, the Government of Nigeria and its partners, including WHO, have been sustaining the “Zero Wild Polio” status in Nigeria, where it was last detected in 2016.

Enormous efforts have gone into containing the CVPVD2 variant strain; however, poliovirus surveillance data has also shown that the virus continues to circulate in some states of the North-West zone. WHO will work closely with the National Primary Health Care Development Agency (NPHCDA) and State Governments, especially in the north-west and high-risk states as recommended by the 40th Executive Review Committee to reach the finish line by the end of this year”, said Dr Mulombo.

WHO, as implementing partners for the polio funding, will deploy the resources to eradicate polio, support the polio surveillance activities across the country and strengthen health systems so they are better able to respond to emerging health threats.

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