VENTURES AFRICA – Nigerian billionaire Sir. Emeka Offor, the Executive Vice Chairman of Nigerian oil and gas firm, Chrome Group, has donated an additional $1 million to a Rotary International polio eradication program, PolioPlus, following an initial $250,000 gesture.
According to Vanguard, Offor made the announcement on Sunday at the ongoing 2013 Rotary International Convention in Lisbon, Portugal.
“…polio should have no place in our world. Therefore, today I am giving an additional $1 million to PolioPlus,” he said.
Nigeria, Pakistan and Afghanistan are the only remaining polio affected areas in the world.
“Considerable effort is being made to eradicate polio in Nigeria, but at times progress is slow. In 2011, we had 62 documented cases of polio. In 2012, that number increased to 122. This year 26 cases have been documented so far,” Offor explained.
The philanthropist cited ignorance, difficulty in accessing affected nomadic areas and myth surrounding polio vaccines, as obstacles to immunization campaigns.
“Many parents simply refuse immunizations for their children because they fear that some evil motives are at play or even fear perceived bad side effects.
“An additional problem is reaching the nomadic and remote populations that are often strongholds for the disease. Even in the best of times, Government capacity to reach these “hidden populations” is severely limited,” he said.
According to report, since the inception of PolioPlus, members of Rotary International have contributed more than $160 million to polio eradication in Nigeria.