Bill Gates Tells Nigeria to Sustain Polio Immunisation Despite Free Status

The Co-chairman Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, Mr Bill Gates, has urged the Nigerian government to continue its immunisation campaign despite the country being declared Polio Free by the World Health Organization (WHO).

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

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

Gates was quoted as calling on the Kano State Government on the need to reinforce routine immunisation with the active participation of community leaders, to sustain the feat achieved in the polio eradication campaign.

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“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 efforts to ensure community wellbeing,” Gates was quoted as saying in the statement.

It said Gates noted that since 2012, Kano State Government demonstrated commitment in contributions to the Health Basket Fund, and expressed the hope that the trend would be sustained for successful partnership.

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The statement also quoted Dangote as expressing happiness over the manner the Ganduje administration 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 was quoted as saying.

Dangote pledged continuing support to the state government towards making its immunisation programme and PHC system more resilient.
Also, Ganduje said his administration accorded priority to strengthening of the healthcare delivery system in the state.

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

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