Sokoto govt. uses N400m to improve uptake of polio vaccines in 597 health facilities



 Sokoto State Government have  utilised N400 million counterpart funding on routine immunisation against poliomyelitis activities in 597 health centers across the state.

Gov. Aminu Tambuwal stated this during the end of the year 2019 review meeting on routine immunisation’s Memorandum of Understanding (RIMoU) in Sokoto.

He said there was significant increase in the number of health facilities that offered routine immunisation from 553 to 597.

He said the achievements were recorded with the support of Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation (BMGF), Dangote Foundation USAID and UNICEF.

Tambuwal further enumerated other achievements recorded in 2019 to include, reduction in the number of circulating vaccine derived polio virus (cVDPV).

“cVDPV is a pointer to improvements in our routine immunisation programme and the quality of the outbreak response campaigns.”

He also said that the government ensured consistent monthly meetings on polio eradication, immunisation of 55 per cent sampled children and conduct of State Data Quality Assessment in 23 Local Government Areas of the state.

The governor pledged that the state’s health team would continue to work to intensify strategies to eradicate the occurrence of cVDPV in the coming months.

He noted the observations by various partners in the meeting and assured that “necessary adjustments” and improvements would be made to address the gaps.

In his remarks via Skype, the Chairman of the BMGF, Mr Bill Gates, urged the state government to follow up on local government counterpart funding.

Gates, represented by Mr Chris Elias urged authorities to further ensure that the transition from Routine Immunisation Memorandum of Understanding (RIMoU) to Primary Healthcare Memorandum of Understanding (PHC MoU) should surmount all difficulties earlier experienced.

He called on the state  to address human resources challenges and  advised the ministry of health to evolve multi-strategy to address problems identified during the meeting.

Chairman of Dangote Foundation, Alhaji Aliko Dangote, who also featured at the meeting via Skype,  commended the state government for its efforts to engage traditional rulers and other stakeholders in the campaign against polio.

Dangote noted that there were some problems mitigating against the health tracking system and encouraged the state government to meet all demands.

He also recommended that the government should expand its financial monitoring framework, implement sanction on defaulters of the contributory health scheme, ensure release of additional resources and evolve a mechanism to coordinate the efforts of all stakeholders.

On its part, the USAID Mission Director, Stephen Hawkins, noted that it was already upscaling its activities in the state and would “like to see an expansion of these, as a result of its “long history of working together” with the state.

Hawkins said the agency was  looking forward to working with the state legislators and other stakeholders as it continued to further its commitment on awareness regarding behavioral change.

The UNCEF Country Representative, Peter Hawkins, who also spoke via Skype from Lagos, assured that the fund was working to improve polio eradication system in the state through strengthening community engagement, which “in the moment isn’t working properly.”

He urged the state government to improve its healthcare system and improve nutrition status in some local government areas.

Reviewing the program in the state, the Commissioner for Health, Dr Ali Inname, noted that there had been disparity between the data transmitted by the state government and that of the federal government on the program.

Inname observed that the state was high on scorecard of  assessed parameters, but pointing out that the “human resources for health has deficit of staff to man the programme.”

He, however, assured that with the current staff audit by the ministry, ascertain gaps that needed  to be filled would be addressed, especially as the state’s PHC budget was 27 per cent of the total health budget.

The commissioner gave an update on the occurrence of polio in the state, saying there was only one case in the period under review, to which “there was a swift reaction to the local government and contingent areas.”

The Sultan of Sokoto, Alhaji Muhammad Saad Abubakar, who was represented by Alhaji Bello Abubakar, Ubandoman Gari, assured the state and its partners of the Sultanate’s full support in the attainment of its objectives.

Other contributors to the meeting were the Minister of Health, Dr Osagie Ehanire and Dr Faisal Shuaibu, Executive Director of the National Primary Healthcare Development Agency. (NAN)

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