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FG Aims to Eradicate Polio by Year End

Shettima expressed appreciation for the states that have achieved high immunization coverage, ranging from 60% to 80% of the target population.

By Johnson Atoukudu:

On Thursday, Vice President Kashim Shettima stated that the administration led by President Bola Tinubu is dedicated to eliminating the variant poliovirus by the end of 2023. He further emphasized that the Federal Government will collaborate with state governments to tackle issues concerning the funding of Nigeria’s primary healthcare system.

During a meeting with members of the Nigeria Governors’ Forum, Aliko Dangote, and Bill Gates at the State House Banquet Hall in Abuja, Shettima assured attendees that the Federal Government is fully committed to eradicating the variant poliovirus before the year’s end. The objective is to ensure that every Nigerian child receives coverage through routine immunization campaigns. The statement regarding these matters was released on Thursday by Olusola Abiola, the State House Director of Information in the Office of the Vice President. The statement is titled “We are going to address the concerns that surround financing our primary healthcare system.”

The VP, who described polio as one of the major primary healthcare challenges in Nigeria, said, “The proposal is to provide timely domestic financing for the procurement of vaccines, which couldn’t have come sooner, to boosting our industrial capacity to produce vaccines.”

He said Nigeria’s three-dose pentavalent vaccine coverage had improved from 33 per cent in 2016 to 57 per cent in 2021.

“The variant polio virus has declined in Nigeria by 84 per cent from 2021, falling to fewer than 200 cases in 2022,” he said.

Shettima expressed appreciation for the states that have achieved high immunization coverage, ranging from 60% to 80% of the target population. He mentioned that the number of states meeting this criteria has increased from 12 to 21 within a span of five years.

Regarding the production of vaccines for children’s immunization, he assured that the Federal Government and states will collaborate to ensure the availability of vaccines even for children who have not received any doses. Nigeria has the second highest number of zero-dose children in the world, with two million cases, following India.

During the interactive session, Gates disclosed that his foundation recently announced a commitment of $7 billion to support routine immunization in Nigeria and the Global Polio Eradication Initiative in Northern Nigeria over the next four years.

Dangote also spoke about his and Gates’ partnership with the federal and state governments over several years, providing support to eradicate polio and improve routine immunization, nutrition, and primary healthcare in the country.

Additionally, Chairman of the Nigeria Governors’ Forum, AbdulRaman AbdulRazaq, and other governors present at the meeting commended the philanthropic interventions of the Dangote and Bill & Melinda Gates Foundations in healthcare, education, agriculture, and human capital development.

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