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POLIO: Dangote, Gates commit $42m to routine immunisation 

By Gabriel Olawale

To maintain the success of Nigeria’s delisting from the  group of polio-endemic countries and ensure global-level standards of surveillance, Dangote Foundation and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation have extended their existing partnership on routine immunisation and strengthening of primary health care in Kano and Bauchi states to four additional states of Borno, Kaduna, Sokoto and Yobe.

PARTNERSHIP: L-R: Environmental Surveillance Officer, Mr. Haliru Usman; President, Dangote Group Ltd, Aliko Dangote and Co-Chairman, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Bill Gates, during a visit to Rigasa Environmental Surveillance site, Igabi LGA, Kaduna State.

Speaking on the benefit of the newly signed Memorandum of Understanding, MoU, the Chief Executive Officer, Dangote Foundation, Zouera Youssoufou, said the need to keep up the success through routine immunisation, was to ensure that the trend of polio is not reversed.

“While it is an important indication of progress to have a year and five months without a case of WPV, Nigeria needs to go through July 2017 without a case anywhere in the country to be declared polio-free. Surveillance must be maintained at global-level standards so that we are not missing anything.”

“This informed the extension of strategic partners between the two Foundations and the six state governments to earmark a total of $42 million to strengthening routine immunisatio and by extension, a significant part of the primary health care system.”

Youssoufou hinted that a total of $42 million has been set aside for 2013- 2018 with Dangote Foundation and the Gates Foundation contributing $14 million each while the six states together provide the balance of $14 million.

She pointed out that strengthening routine immunisation takes sustained financial and human resource commitment and it is important that the changes being made during the short MOU period must be ‘habit forming’ changes that are kept in place well after the MOUs end.

Youssoufou who is the former World Bank Country Manager for Gabon, Equatorial Guinea and Sao Tomé and Principe, said the the two Foundations are entering into a one-time, 15-month tripartite MoU with Zamfara and Katsina States to strengthen their cold chain system for the success in remaining polio free since 2013.

Immunization Leadership Challenge, the two foundations committed to recognizing Zamfara and Katsina State each with $1 million grant award funds for their success in remaining polio free in 2013.”

“Dangote Foundation and BMGF’s founding will support the purchase of cold chain equipment, while the states have committed to releasing funds to support equipment installation, operation, and maintenance.

“Money from the two foundations’ money has been released to UNICEF to enable them to do the procurement which includes walk-in coolers for satellite cold stores, as well as the solar direct drive dual refrigerators to be used at the facility level,” She noted.

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