Bill Gates urges Nigerian govt to sustain immunisation campaign

Co-chairman, Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, Mr Bill Gates, said the federal government must not lose sight on its immunisation campaigns, even though the country has been declared Polio Free by the World Health Organization (WHO).

A statement issued on Saturday by Ameen Yassar, Director-General, Media and Public Relations, Kano Government House, stated that Gates made the call during a virtual meeting of the Kano State Health System Strengthening Programme.

The meeting was attended by Governor Abdullahi Ganduje; the Chairman, Dangote Foundation, Aliko Dangote; Minister of Health, Dr Osagie Ehanire and other key public health officials.

According to Gates, there is need for the Kano state government to reinforce routine immunisation with active participation of community leaders, to sustain the feat achieved in the polio eradication campaign.

“Our polio work is not done, we still have the vaccine for Wild Polio Virus (WPV), and we need to maintain immunisation in case polio escapes from the two countries in Asia where it still exists.

“I am pleased to hear that the Kano State Task Force on immunisation also includes Primary Health Care (PHC) as its  focus.

“PHC programme areas in the state should be strengthened as part of effort to ensure community wellbeing,” Gates said.

He noted that since 2012, Kano state government has demonstrated commitment in contributions to the Health Basket Fund, and expressed the hope that the trend would be sustained for successful partnership.

Speaking, Aliko Dangote expressed happiness over the manner the Ganduje-led administration has handled the COVID-19 pandemic in the state.

“Kano State has shown to the world what it can do to respond to emergencies, the same way you and your team kept your energy going with polio. I urge you to keep it going with your COVID-19 response,” Dangote said.

He pledged continuing support to the state government towards making its immunisation programme and PHC system more resilient.

On his part, the Kano State Governor, Abdullahi Ganduje, said his administration would continue to accord priority in strengthening healthcare delivery system in the state.

“Kano State will also strive to scale up strengthening of 2 – way referral linkages between primary and secondary health care facilities,” the Governor said.

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