Eradicating polio in Nigeria will be our greatest achievement – Gates Foundation

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Nahimat Adekoga

The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation has said that eradication of polio in Nigeria will be the foundation’s greatest achievement.

Country Representative of the Foundation, Mairo Mandara made this known in an interview with the Newsmen on Sunday in Abuja, saying that Nigeria was one of the three countries left to completely tackle Poliomyelitis scourge.

Mandara listed the two other countries as Pakistan and Afghanistan, reiterating that efforts are on to kick polio out of Nigeria this year.

“We are going to kick polio out, and we are actively vaccinating and doing surveillance, so eradicating polio in Nigeria will be our biggest achievement’’.

She said that Nigeria had not recorded any polio case for almost two years before the cases in Maiduguri were discovered, which she said, was not surprising.

The Gates Foundation chief explained that this was because children and their families enslaved by Boko Haram could not be reached by the vaccinators.

She said that the polio scourge had not been recorded in any other parts of the country recently except for Borno.

Mandara also said that the foundation was developing a Nigeria Country Strategy, a plan which was in line with what the Federal Government was doing.

She said it was developing a working methodology that supports the agenda of the government and people of Nigeria to improve health of women and children and its revitalisation of one Primary Healthcare Centre per ward initiative.

“We want to support the Nigerian Government to develop a workforce of village health workers that will go to villages and ensure that there is good health and nutrition education.

“The government leading and we, with others supporting, so that it will have a sustained strategy for improving the lives of people in Nigeria,” the Gates Foundation official said.

She, however, commended the political will of the present administration toward health, adding that the revitalisation of 10,000 Primary Health Centres introduced by the Federal Government was the key to Nigeria’s health intervention.

The country representative said that the government needs to do more to create human resources for health by properly distributing health workers to fill up the vacancies in the rural areas.

The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation has been supporting humanity’s cause in Nigeria through donations to the government and other non-governmental organisations for more than 10 years.

 

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