The World Health Organisation has officially certified Nigeria as a Guinea Worm-Free Country, the Minister of Health, Prof. Onyebuchi Chukwu said in Abuja on Wednesday.
Chukwu disclosed this while presenting the WHO certificate of clean bill of health, to President Goodluck Jonathan at the State House.
The ceremony was held during the first Federal Executive Council meeting in 2014, which was presided over by the President at the Council Chamber of the Presidential Villa.
Chukwu said that sequel to the alarming rate of guinea worm disease in the country the Nigeria Guinea Worm Eradication Programme was established in 1988.
He said that with the efforts of the NIGEP, the country recorded its last case of guinea worm disease in November 2008.
The Minister, who spoke shortly before handing the certificate to the President, said that from 2008 till date, over 900 GWD rumour reports were received and investigated nationwide.
He, however, said that none of the cases was found to be guinea worm disease.
Responding, Jonathan said that it was a milestone attainment which coincided with the period “the country is marks its centenary”.
He said the achievement further attested to the government’s efforts at ensuring that the country was rid of all kinds of endemic diseases.
“The certification by WHO is a global recognition of how far we have come and the success of the work that has been done to rid our nation of this scourge.
“Eradication of guinea worm disease that has long plagued many parts of our country has placed interminable burden on our citizens.
“As a government, we have been working very hard and today we have received the good news”, he said.
Jonathan said that a lot had also been achieved on wild polio eradication.
He said government would double its efforts to also attain the status of a wild polio free nation.
“Just as we have fought the incidence of guinea worm and succeeded so are we committed in our fight against HIV and AIDS and many endemic diseases such as Malaria, Tuberculosis and, of course, polio.
“While polio is yet to be eliminated in our country, we have seen the impressive results in the control of wild polio virus type three transmission.
“We are hopeful that transmission of wild polio will be interrupted this year, at least before the end of the year”, the president said.