The co-chair of Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, Bill Gates has commended the efforts of Borno state government on the fight against polio, in the face of the challenges of insurgency.
Speaking in a video conference on Friday, Gates who was with the president of Dangote Foundation, Aliko Dangote at the Gates foundation’s headquarters in Seattle, United States expressed happiness in the collaboration between the state government and the military in ensuring coverage.
The billionaire businesses men and philanthropists took part in a live video conference with Governor of Borno State, Professor Babagana Umara Zulum, executive director of the National Primary Health-care Development Agency, Dr Faisal Shuaib, officials of the World Health organization and stakeholders involved in the administration of primary healthcare in Borno, for the 2019 mid-year immunization and primary healthcare review meeting.
Gates added that he was also happy with the inclusion of primary healthcare in Zulum’s 10 point development agenda as Governor (since May 29, 2019).
He urged the state government to work towards increasing the quality of immunization campaigns this July and September, 2019, through a release of counterpart funding and bridging a gap of reaching 50,000 children to administer polio vaccines in safe areas affected by insurgent, as identified during the review meeting.
President of Dangote Foundation, Alhaji Aliko Dangote, who described Professor Zulum as Borno’s right man in office, called for continued effort in addressing challenges for expansion of coverage and fund management to increase access to more funding.
Zulum expressed his gratitude to Bill Gates and Dangote for their support towards improving the provision of primary healthcare services.
He identified an intervention by Gates on provision of livelihoods for displaced persons in Kaga local government area three years ago and Dangote’s major donation of building materials worth N2 billion in 2016, wich he said, went a long way in reconstruction and resettlement efforts.
The Governor announced that as part of commitment to health care delivery, he has in less than two months of coming into office, began the construction of seven additional primary healthcare centres in Hawul, Gwoza, Kala-Balge, Askira-Uba and Jere local government areas of Borno State.
He promised an immediate release of counterpart funding towards coming immunization this July and September.
The Governor also promised to ensure compulsory participation of council chairmen in immunization and other primary healthcare meetings and events.
Zulum also promised to take up some matters raised by the Executive Director, National Primary Healthcare Development Agency, Dr Faisal Shuaib, with whom he had a closed door meeting after the video conference.
Shuaib had commended Governor Zulum’s administrative style of visiting public offices in Borno State (which include healthcare institutions) to monitor service delivery.
Earlier, the Executive Director, Borno State Primary Healthcare Development Agency, Dr Sule Mele had presented a comprehensive immunization mid-year review during which he highlighted many successes recorded and challenges being faced.
The Shehu of Borno, Alhaji Abubakar Ibn Umar Garbai Al-Amin Elkanemi who coordinates the participation of traditional rulers and thousands of district and ward heads in expanding immunization coverage, promised to strengthen areas of successes and overcome challenges identified during the review meeting.