Kano State Governor, Dr Abdullahi Umar Ganduje has expressed commitment to deploy significant resources towards sustaining gains of polio eradication and supporting other child survival interventions during discussions with the World Health Organization Country Representative (WR), Dr Wondimagegnehu Alemu on 28 February 2017.
According to the Governor, Kano is the most populous state in northern Nigeria with huge daily population movement and therefore, its health policies presently aims to translate all lessons learnt so far to contain polio and other epidemics to support routine immunization and other child health interventions through a strengthened health system in line with the agenda for revitalization of the Primary Health Care policy for achieving Universal Health Coverage.
“There is need to continue to sustain the gains at all levels by fully engaging LGA chairmen and traditional leaders in supporting polio eradication activities; facilitating timely disbursement of the state’s counterpart funds to guarantee good quality of the supplementary immunization activities as well as strengthening routine immunization”, the governor asserted.
Also contributing on polio eradication efforts in the state, the WR acknowledged the government’s unprecedented political oversight, engagement of both traditional and religious hierarchies towards polio interruption in the state. He encouraged the Governor to continue with his laudable antecedents and ensure that Nigeria attain and sustain a “polio free status”.
Going forward, the WR pledged that “WHO will continue to work in partnership with relevant agencies to further engage with Kano State not only on polio eradication but also in overall child survival interventions including routine immunization, treatment of major killer diseases such as malaria, diarrhea and pneumonia. In addition, our support for implementation of integrated disease surveillance and response will be further enhanced”.
Earlier, Dr Alemu thanked the Governor for providing new office space for WHO in a conducive location after operating for decades from rented premises.
It could be recalled that Kano was hitherto the epicenter of polio circulation with large number of vulnerable children persistently missed due to non-compliance to polio vaccines. With waning political commitment and accountability at all levels, there has been growing concerns among stakeholders on the need to increase political oversight towards achieving polio interruption in northern Nigeria.
Dr Alemu was in Kano to represent development partners at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, and Dangote Foundation health basket tripartite memoranda of understanding signing event with the Kano state government, which also doubled as Yobe state’s 2016 End-year review meeting for routine immunization system strengthening.