29 January 2018

Nigeria: Gates Foundation Seeks Military Cooperation to End Polio in Northeast

Photo: The Guardian

Abuja — The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation has appealed for military support to end Polio Virus in the North-east.

The Assistant Director, Army Public Relations, 22 Brigade, Borno State, Lt Yemi Sokoya, said: "Ahead of the final push to eradicate polio in the northeastern states of Nigeria, Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation has appealed to 22 Armoured Brigade to help in its crusade.

"This appeal was made through the foundation's Coordinator in Nigeria, Mr. Michael Galway, during his courtesy visit to the Commander, 22 Brigade Nigerian Army, Brigadier General John Ochai at the Brigade headquarters Dikwa, Borno State.

Galway, while briefing the commander, explained that a lot has been done in the past with presumption that the virus has been completely eradicated, until 2016 when the virus resurfaced around the Lake Chad region.

He stressed that the virus is harboured where insurgents operates which makes it difficult for his team to reach.

Galway also stressed that it is only the operatives of the Nigerian Army who can take the vaccine to those areas, most especially the liberated villages; with the use of ODK mobile phones to get coordinates.

He further observed: "We are on the last mile; we hope you will help us achieve our goal at finding a lasting solution to the issue of polio in Nigeria."

Speaking, Brigadier General Ochai praised Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation for staying committed despite all the difficulties to eradicate polio in Nigeria, especially in the northeastern part of the country.

He added: "Your Foundation is pursuing a worthy cause; and we are ready to collaborate with you to achieve this goal.

"I can assure you that within the limit of our logistics, we would ensure we cover all these villages and desired result shall be achieved."

The Brigade Commander later took Mr. Michael Galway to Fort Rabe's Monument, Primary Healthcare Centres and Internally Displaced persons' (IDPs) in Dikwa town.

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