Nigeria: Gates, Dangote, Restate Commitment to Polio Eradication in Nigeria

Vaccination team vaccinating children at a nursery school (file photo).

‎The Bill & Melinda Gates and Dangote foundations have restated their commitments to sustaining the fight against polio in Kano State and other parts of Nigeria.

This is contained in a statement signed by the Chief Press Secretary to Govrrnor Abdullahi Ganduje of Kano State, Abba Anwar, on Saturday in Kano. ‎

‎According to the statement, Dangote and Gates reiterated their promises via a video teleconference on a mid-year review meeting on ‎strengthening strategic routine immunisation held at the Government House in Kano.

‎Mr Anwar added that the two rich men also commended Mr Ganduje for being serious about health care delivery in the state.

They further reiterated commitment towards aiding many more success stories to come out from the state.‎

‎The statement also quoted the Executive Secretary of the state's Primary Health Care Management Board, Tijjani Hussaini, as saying that system strengthening efforts have evolved over the years with the primary aim of improving Primary Health Care (PHC) service delivery.‎

Mr Hussaini said efforts were expanded from Routine Immunisation to broader health in agencies under the state's ministry of health.

"By the year 2021, most public health programmes would have been covered by the Kano health system strengthening efforts.

"From January to June 2019, parts of our priority areas included scaling up of fruitful synergy between primary and secondary health facilities," he said.‎

He said that their efforts ultimately resulted into rolling out a Phase 1 referral linkage between the two stages of the health facilities.

Among such priorities he mentioned included assessing facilities operating the Drug Revolving Fund (DRF) scheme to validate compliance with the state's guidelines.

According to him, assessment has been conducted in 132 health facilities with highest DRF transactions.

He said another milestone was the development and commencement of implementation of 'Smart Integrated Community Engagement Plan for Health in all the 44 local government areas of the state," he said.

He explained that the efforts led to community personnel being co-opted to support other important health programmes beyond the immunisation space.

"We now have a draft plan that has already been developed to further improve quality care. The draft only awaits finalisation now.‎

"The comparison of survey between administrative data, is indicative and suggestive to the explanation that there is very glaring improvement in quality administrative data," he explained. ‎

‎He said Kano State had not recorded any case of wild polio virus since 2014, saying that only three environmental cases were identified in Tarauni LGA since the outbreak in July 2018.‎

‎According to Mr Anwar, Mr Ganduje commended Messrs Dangote, Gates and all other stakeholders for finding it worthy to support the state's health sector.

He also said that his administration's partnership with all stakeholders was being strengthened.

Gates foundation lauds Borno Govt over polio immunization campaign

Meanwhile, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation has commended the Borno State Government over its commitments to eradicating polio disease in spite of challenges by the Boko Haram insurgency.

Isa Gusau, the Special Assistant on Media to Governor Babagana Zulum, made the disclosure in a statement, on Friday in Maiduguri.

Mr Gusau disclosed that Bill Gates, the Chairman of the foundation, made the commendation during a video conference for the mid-year review of polio immunisation campaign, held at its headquarters in Abuja.

He disclosed that the meeting was attended by Mr Zulum, Aliko Dangote, Shehu of Borno,Abubakar Garbai El-Kanemi; Faisal Shuaib, the Executive Director, National Primary Healthcare Development Agency (NPHCDA) and representatives of the World Health Organisation (WHO).

Mr Gusau said Mr Gates described the efforts of the state government in the fight against polio disease as "impressive", adding that the philanthropist also expressed joy over the synergy demonstrated between the government and military.

He reportedly said that the synergy facilitated smooth conduct of immunization exercises enhancing coverage in crisis prone areas.

"Gates is happy with the inclusion of primary healthcare in the Zulum's 10-point development agenda.

"Gates also called on the state government to work towards ‎increasing the quality of immunization campaign coming up in July and September; through the release of counterpart fund, and bridging the gap to reach 50, 000 children in administering polio vaccines in safe areas affected by insurgency as identified during the review meeting", he added.

Mr Gusau also quoted Mr Dangote as advocating for proactive steps to addressing challenges, expanding immunization coverage and improving management to increase access to more fund.

He further quoted Mr Zulum as expressing gratitude to Gates and Dangote over their support towards improving primary healthcare service delivery in the state.

"Zulum identified interventions by Gates‎ Foundation on provision of livelihoods for displaced persons in Kaga Local Government Area of the state in the past three years, and Dangote's major donation of building materials worth over N2 billion in 2016; which went a long way in reconstruction and resettlement efforts".

Mr Gusau added that the governor announced that his administration had began construction of seven health facilities at Hawul, Gwoza, Kala-Balge, Askira-Uba and Jere local government areas of the state.

Mr Zulum promised to ensure immediate release of counterpart fund to facilitate smooth conduct of July and September round of immunisation campaigns, as well as mobilize participation of community leaders in the exercise.

According to him, Shehu El-Kanemi also pledged support to ensure effective coverage in the exercise.

Mr Gusau added that highlights of the meeting included presentation by Dr Sule Mele, the Director, Borno State Primary Healthcare Agency (PHC).



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