Six Nigerian governors Wednesday, signed Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Bill Gates and Aliko Dangote on improved access to immunisation in Nigeria.
The governors include Aminu Waziri Tambuwal of Sokoto; Kashim Shettima, Borno; Abdullahi Ganduje, Kano; Muhammed Abubakar, Bauchi, and Nasir El-Rufai of Kaduna State, while Yobe Gov. Ibrahim Geidam was represented by Bello Kawu at the signing ceremony in Sokoto.
In his address, Bill Gates said all partners were committed to ensuring that maximum number of children were reached, adding that the MoUs were intended to enable states to achieve targeted coverage.
“Routine immunisation is crucial to ensuring that every child is protected against vaccine-preventable diseases, helping them achieve their potential and live full, productive lives.
“We are ready to support the states in reaching the targets set out in the MoUs,” he added.
He projected that all partners were committed to reaching at least 80 percent coverage in 2019.
Gates commended all the signatory-states for their commitment, adding that Nigeria is so far on the right track not just in efforts to fight polio, but on achieving targets in routine immunisation.
“My request is that all the governors should review campaigns and ensure that in the next two years, we complete polio eradication.
“On routine immunisation, the opportunity is fantastic vaccinations are phenomenal on their impacts. We can prevent millions of deaths by doing work on routine immunisation.’’
On his part, Dangote emphasised the need for governments to be updated on the payment of their counterpart funds and to work hard on improving data especially at the grassroots level.
“We are delighted that the MoU has been extended, reaffirming Bauchi, Borno, Kaduna, Kano, Sokoto and Yobe states’ commitment to the health of their citizens. Our expectation now is that this commitment will be translated into concrete action,” he said.
He said the inclusion of primary health care development programmes would also translate in increased community commitment as local government chairmen and district heads were participating in routine immunisation meetings during campaigns.
The governors explained the roadmap achievements and provided graphic statistics on immunisation coverage, manpower, healthcare facilities and challenges, stressing that each of them had come out with distinct policies in order to achieve the desired impacts.