Polio: Bill Gates commends Ganduje, harps on sustained immunization

From Maduabuchi Nmeribeh, Kano

The Co-chairman of Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, Mr. Bill Gates, has said that despite the fact that the World Health Organization (Who) has certified Nigeria as Polio-free, the country must not relent in immunizing her children.

This is just as the President of Dangote Foundation, Alhaji Aliko Dangote has commended Governor Abdullahi Umar Ganduje over his uncommon response to the dreaded COVID-19 pandemic.

They both spoke during virtual Kano State Health System Strengthening Programme meeting.

The meeting also involved Governor Abdullahi Umar Ganduje, the Minister of Health, Dr. Osagie Ehanire and other key public health officials.

Bill Gates pointed out that, “our Polio work is not done, we still have the vaccine for Wild Polio and we need to maintain immunization in case Polio escapes from the two countries in Asia where it still exists.”

He, however, advised that Kano needed to reinforce its Routine Immunization efforts, with the active participation of traditional leaders, so that the successes recorded in the previous anti-Polio campaigns could be maintained.

“I am pleased to hear that the Kano State Task Force on immunization also includes Primary Health Care as its focus,” he stated, adding that Primary Health Care program areas in the state should be strengthened as part of effort to ensure community well-being.

He recalled that since 2012, Kano state had not defaulted in contributing to the health basket fund, hoping the trend would be sustained for the success of the partnership.

In his remarks, the Chairman, Dangote Foundation, Alhaji Aliko Dangote explained that he was happy with the way the Ganduje administration handled the Covid-19 pandemic.

“Kano has shown 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, “he noted.
He assured that his Foundation would continue to support the state government towards making its immunization and Primary Health Care systems more resilient.

While speaking, Ganduje said strengthening the healthcare delivery system in the state remained one of the major priorities of his administration.
“Kano state will also strive to scale up strengthening of 2 – way referral linkages between primary and secondary health care facilities, ‘ Ganduje promised.

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