The Minister of Health, Professor Onyebuchi Chukwu, on Tuesday said Nigeria had been certified as a Guinea worm-free country.
Mr. Chukwu made this known in Ibadan at a symposium on “Global Perspective in Emerging Diseases’’ held in honour of Professor Oladipo Akinkugbe.
“For any country to be certified as a Guinea worm-free country, you must not record any Guinea worm for three consecutive years.
“The success recorded in Guinea worm eradication will make the World Health Organisation (WHO) to present a certificate to President Goodluck Jonathan in December,” Mr. Chukwu said.
He said though polio was still endemic, the transmission of Type 3 virus had been interrupted for more than one year for the first time in the history of the country.
The minister also said that maternal mortality ratio had dropped from 545 per 100,000 in 2008 to 350 per 100,000 in 2012.
He added that the prevalence of malaria and HIV/AIDS were also declining as evidenced by the recent national survey.
The minister, who also paid tributes to Mr. Akinkugbe, described him as an icon in the medical profession.
Leading medical practitioner, Sunny Kuku, in a keynote address on Nigeria’s health sector in the last 40 years, said that the country had fallen short of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).
According to him, most Nigerians still travel abroad for medical care because they have lost confidence in the healthcare system.
“Our healthcare facilities are fast deteriorating and are unable to meet the medical needs of our people while life expectancy is still under 50 years,” he said.
Mr. Kuku urged the Federal Government to improve funding of the three tiers of health institutions in the country.
The Vice-Chancellor, University of Ibadan, Professor Isaac Adewole, described Mr. Akinkugbe as “an enigma and a colossus of the medicine profession.’’
Mr. Akinkugbe, in his remarks, said that the nation’s healthcare sector was under funded, urging government at all levels to fund the sector right from the grassroots.