From Uche Uche, Damaturu
Yobe state governor, Hon. Mai Mala Buni has assured that his administration is fully committed to strengthening primary healthcare and routine immunization, so that the state would continue to remain polio-free.
According to the governor’s director-general, press affairs, Alhaji Abdullahi Bego, the governor gave the assurance recently during a videoconference mid-year review meeting in the Polio Emergency Operations Centre in Abuja, with Co-Chair of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, Mr. Bill Gates and the Chairman of Dangote Foundation, Alhaji Aliko Dangote on strengthening routine immunization in Yobe state.
The review meeting was part of the memorandum of understanding signed by the Yobe state government and the Bill and Melinda Gates and Dangote Foundations which is due to enter its second phase of additional five years.
The governor assured Mr. Gates and Alhaji Aliko Dangote that Yobe state government will do everything necessary to improve access to quality healthcare, sustain and build on the progress made so far.
“The Yobe State Government will continue to support all Polio Eradication initiatives. In this year, and in the years to come, we will do everything possible to improve access to vaccination and ensure that all under-served and hard-to-reach communities are not left out”, he added.
The governor also revealed that, as part of effort to strengthen primary healthcare, more primary health centers would be built throughout the state to cater for the healthcare needs of people in rural areas.
“As part of our determination to institute a functional primary healthcare system, we plan to establish at least one Primary Healthcare Facility in each of the 178 wards in the state and assign the personnel required to manage them. We are committed to enhancing service delivery and achieving greater success in wiping out all vaccine-preventable diseases among our people”, he said.
The governor appreciated the support of traditional rulers and community leaders in mobilizing their people to ensure that children are immunized and urged them to sustain the effort.
Both Mr Gates and Alhaji Aliko Dangote commended the Yobe State Government for the progress made so far in immunization campaigns.
Mr. Gates noted the good progress that the state has made in routine immunization and improvement in the quality of vaccination campaign but however urged the governor to ensure timely release of counterpart funds to cover more ground in routine immunization.
Alhaji Dangote praised the progress of Yobe in healthcare, including immunization admitting that the government’s 50 percent funds release threshold for the healthcare sector is commendable but noted that the 10 percent threshold in primary healthcare must be increased to ensure a better primary healthcare environment in the state.
The Emir of Fika and Chairman of the state’s council of chiefs, Alhaji Muhammadu Abali Ibn Muhammadu Idrissa, who also attended the meeting, assured that traditional rulers will continue to pitch in and incentivize their communities to participate more fully and actively in routine immunization.