TIME named Nigerian physician, Dr. Tunji Funsho, to the 2020 TIME100, its annual list of the 100 most influential people in the world.
The list, now in its seventeenth year, recognises the activism, innovation and achievement of the world’s most influential individuals.
Funsho, a cardiologist based in Lagos, is the first Rotary member to receive the honour for the organisation’s work to eradicate polio, having played an essential role in ensuring Africa’s certification as wild polio-free in August of 2020.
“I’m honoured to be recognised by TIME for my part in ensuring that no child in Africa will ever again be paralysed by wild polio, a disease that once disabled 75,000 African children every single year,” said Funsho.
“Eradicating the wild poliovirus in Africa was a team effort that required the cooperation and dedication of governments, partners, Rotary members, hundreds of thousands of health workers, and countless parents who chose to have their children vaccinated against polio.”
As the leader of Rotary’s Nigeria National PolioPlus Committee, Funsho has worked alongside Rotary members throughout the country to raise awareness about the importance of polio immunization, encouraged governments and public figures to support polio eradication, and served as a vocal leader and advocate for Rotary’s fight to end polio in Africa.
In August 2019, Nigeria reached three years without a case of wild poliovirus. On 25 August, the African region was certified wild polio-free. The virus is now endemic in just two countries, Afghanistan and Pakistan.