Mr Bill Gates, the Co-Chairman of Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, has called on the Federal Government not to relent in its polio immunisation campaign in spite of the declaration of Nigeria as a polio-free country by WHO.
Gates made the call in a statement issued on Saturday in Kano by Ameen Yassar, Director-General, Media and Public Relations, Kano State Government.
The statement said that 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 of Dangote Foundation, Alhaji Aliko Dangote; the Minister of Health, Dr Osagie Ehanire and other key public health officials.
Gates was quoted as calling on the Kano State Government to reinforce routine immunisation with the active participation of community leaders, so as to sustain the feats achieved in the polio eradication campaign.
“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 Asian countries 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.
“The 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.
The statement said that Gates noted that since 2012, Kano State Government had demonstrated commitment in its contributions to the Health Basket Fund and expressed the hope that the trend would be sustained for successful partnership.
The statement also quoted Dangote as expressing happiness over how 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 for the state government in efforts to make its immunisation programme and PHC system more resilient.
Also, Ganduje said that his administration had accorded priority to strengthening the healthcare delivery system in the state.
“Kano State will also strive to scale up the strengthening of the two-way referral linkages between primary and secondary health care facilities,” the governor said in the statement.