By Ado Hassan, Sokoto
World’s richest business mogul, Mr Bill Gates yesterday urged the Governors and traditional leaders in the north to work harder for increased community commitment to ensure high percentage coverage on immunisation.
Mr. Gates who is also the Co-chair of Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation made the remark at the formal meeting and signing of an MoU extensions on community engagement on immunisation programme in six states of the north.
Bill Gates signed the agreement with Governors of Kaduna, Kano, Bauchi, Borno, Sokoto and the representative of Yobe state Governor, Ibrahim Gaidam.
Gates noted that there was the need to review more campaigns on routine immunisation and polio erradication, adding that” present routine immunisation can make more good work with better training and staff management in addition to checking progress and challenges.”
He described the signing of the MoU as a fantastic stride to achieving desired results, stressing that more should be done to avoid problems in the course of coverage of children targeted for vaccinations.
” Governors of the six states should be committed to identifying critical areas of problems by strengthening the basis for the routine immunisation to achieve a dramatic reversal of the trend with adequate supplies of vaccines to achieve 80% coverage”, he stressed.
In his remark, Alhaji Aliko Dangote, Chairman Dangote Foundation noted that there alot job to be done to keep away polio from Nigeria especially in the north.
He stressed the need for prompt counterpart funding and ensure adequate campaigns by state governments in collaboration with relevant stakeholders.
” I am delighted on the signing of the letter of intent to build on the programme. We are all together for it in thick and skin. Routine immunisation is different and complex, hence requires dedication, motivation and passion.
” States have to keep to the track and support LGs with better health facilities to be able to manage vaccines and proper record keeping of data”, he stressed.
However, the governors who acknowledged the milestone intervention efforts of the Bill and Melinda Gates, Dangote Foundations and other active development partners, assured of their commitment to the course of erradicating polio and other killer diseases through adequate funding of their various healthcare systems and facilities with priority to upward review of the health budgets.
Earlier, Sultan of Sokoto, Muhammad Sa’ad Abubakar at a meeting with Mr Bill Gates and Alhaji Aliko Dangote, assured of the readiness of traditional leaders from across the 19 northern states and the FCT to ensure the success of polio and other healthcare related problems.
Abubakar gave the assurance at the all important meeting held at his palace in Sokoto to review the activities and strides achieved.
” We have to redouble our efforts to ensure the success of the struggle and fight against polio and ensure the drive gets total acceptance by our people.”
The revered monarch noted that poverty and hunger were two inseparable components that influence the health status of an individual.
” Where poverty pervades, there is bound to be hunger which will in turn lead to unhealthiness”, he pointed out.
According to him” we need to work extra hard to ensure a healthy, wealthy and safe society where everyone will be happy and feel belonged .”
Abubakar, however, commended the giant intervention steps and concern shown by Bill Gates on the rapid cases of polio in Nigeria.
” We acknowledge your efforts and commitment in supporting Nigeria’s drive in trying to overcome the challenge”, he stressed