President Muhammadu Buhari has supported Aliko Dangote, and one of the richest men in the world Bill Gates initiatives to maintain Nigeria’s polio-free status, strengthen routine immunization.
The president assured that his government will continue to give strong supervision function and funding for polio programmes in Nigeria.
To this effect, Buhari is reconstituting an enlarged presidential task force on polio which would include the 36 states’ governors to keep up the success currently recorded.
The Nigerian leader was speaking at the signing of the updated Abuja commitment on polio eradication in the Aso Rock villa.
He said: “I am very encouraged by the progress we are making on the immunization front. This gives me comfort that we are on the right track to ensure our children and grand children will never know of polio and its adverse impacts on lives and livelihood. Here, I will commend and thank all our partners, including both Mr. Gates and Alhaji Dangote for their personal commitments to this worthy cause.
“Of course, I also recognize the heroics of our polio eradication team under the National Primary Health Care Development Agency of the Federal Ministry of Health as well as the WHO, UNICEF, Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, CDC, USAID, Rotary, Faith based organizations, Traditional Rulers, vaccinators and caregivers.
“I would like to assure you that the Federal government will continue to provide strong oversight and funding for polio program. To this effect, we will reconstitute an expanded Presidential Taskforce on Polio which will include the 36 states’ Governors to sustain the successes of our current polio eradication activities such as surveillance and routine immunization programs.
“I am pleased to inform you that the 6 states mostly impacted by polio have signed an MoU on routine immunization. This MOU is a commitment by the State Governments, namely Kano, Bauchi, Borno, Kaduna, Sokoto and Yobe, to strengthen Primary Health care system through community sensitization and support programs.
“Based on this, I will take this opportunity to call on all state governors, the National Primary Health Care Development Agency and the Federal Ministry of Health to sustain this momentum to ensure we maintain the zero polio case status.”
Some northern state governments in Nigeria had earlier signed a Memorandum of understanding.
The World Health Organization has removed Nigeria from the list of polio endemic nations in the world in September last year.
This is the first time that Nigeria has interrupted transmission of wild poliovirus, bringing the country and the African region closer than ever to being certified polio-free.