Bill Gates, Aliko Dangote and six Governors on Wednesday signed a memorandum of understanding on improved access to immunization across Northern Nigeria.
Governor Aminu Waziri Tambuwal of Sokoto was joined by Kashim Shettima of Borno, Abdullahi ganduje of Kano, Muhammed Abubakar of Bauchi and Nasir El-Rufai of Kaduna at the signing ceremony which held at the Sokoto Government House. Yobe State Governor was represented.
Health Minister, Professor Isaac Adewole, also witnessed the signing ceremony.
Delivering the opening remarks, Tambuwal said all the states were committed to improving vaccine availability, encouraging stronger community engagement and securing financing.
“In addition, we will ensure strong monitoring and evaluation while at the same time, accountability mechanisms will be put in place,” he added.
Speaking at the event, Bill Gates said all partners were committed to ensuring maximum number of children were reached, adding that the MoUs were intended to enable states achieve targeted coverage.
“Routine immunization 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 t support the states in reaching the targets set out in the MoUs,” he added.
He said with the election season approaching, all hands must be on deck to ensure the targets were met, projecting that all partners were committed to reaching at least 80+ coverage in the coming year.
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 immunization.
“My request is that all the governors should review campaigns and ensure that in the next two years, we complete polio eradication. On routine immunization, the opportunity is fantastic, vaccinations are phenomenal on their impacts. We can prevent millions of deaths by doing work on RI,” he said.
In his remarks, Dangote emphasized the need for governments to be uptodate 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 have 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 stated.
He commended both the federal and governments for working on data improvement and for reffirming their commitments to tackling preventable diseases.
In their separate remarks, the Governors expressed delight at the signing of the MoUs, and vowed to ensure full implementation in their various states.