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SOKOTO, NIGERIA (THIS DAY) -- The Co-chair of Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, Mr. Bill Gates, Wednesday signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with six northern governors on the extension of routine immunization in the region with a call on them to review their campaigns to ensure the eradication of polio.
Speaking at a community engagement meeting and signing of MoU at the Government House Sokoto, Gates urged the governors and traditional leaders in the North to intensify efforts and campaigns in order to ensure maximum coverage.
According to him, the signing of the MoU can do a lot in routine immunization with training and better management.
“I am excited to be part of this meeting and the signing of the memorandum of understanding with the governors. The fact that the governors are present here is an indication of commitment.
“With increased campaigns, we should be able to get high percentage coverage to check challenges and progress made.
“Vaccinations are phenomenal in their impact because a child that has not been vaccinated is twice likely to die. We can prevent millions of deaths through routine immunization and we will not relent in our commitment towards that,” he said.
He described the meeting with the governors as a good step in the right direction aimed at eradicating polio and diseases in the region.
Gates harped on the need for increased community participation and commitment of traditional leaders and local government councils to ensure the eradication of polio.
He also stressed the need for parents to follow up on vaccination in order to ensure high coverage levels. Gates, to this end, reaffirmed his commitment and support towards the eradication of polio in the country. In his remarks, the President of Dangote Foundation, Alhaji Aliko Dangote, said the fight against the polio scourge requires sense of urgency and commitment by all stakeholders.
He restated his continued support towards the eradication of the disease in the country.
The Sultan of Sokoto, Alhaji Muhammad Sa’ad Abubakar, described poverty as an impediment towards the attainment of a healthy society.
He said the support and efforts of Bill Gates has gone a long way in tackling polio and made positive impact in the lives of the people in the North.
He commended Bill Gates and Aliko Dangote for their support and efforts towards tackling polio and other diseases in the north, describing it as unprecedented.
“Since Bill Gates visited Sokoto in 2009, he has been doing his best to see to an end to the polio scourge and other diseases. I hope Gates and Dangote will not look back until poverty and the diseases are tackled.
“Somebody that is Impoverished cannot be said to be healthy. So, I really commend them for their support to humanity because we have seen the positive effects on the society.
“We are committed and ready to go extra mile to ensure that success is achieved so as to have a healthy society where everybody can feel a sense of belonging,” the monarch added.
Sokoto State Governor, Aminu Tambuwal, said the meeting was meant to sign a memorandum of understanding between state governments and Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, Dangote Foundation and United States Agency for International Development (USAID).
He stated that it was also aimed at eradicating polio and other diseases in states particularly in the North and Nigeria in general.
The governor noted that through the combined efforts of Bill Gates and Dangote Foundation, Sokoto has achieved modest success and shown enthusiasm in eradicating polio.
Tambuwal commended Bill Gates for his service to humanity, saying his gesture has touched millions of lives across the world.
“Bill Gates is a global citizen and a philantrophist who has touched millions of lives across the globe that are not from his race or country but for the sake of humanity,” he stated.
Borno State Governor, Kashim Shetima, said the present leadership in the North was determined to change the narrative by Improving the lives of children through routine immunisation.
Kaduna State Governor, Malam Nasiru El-Rufai, expressed the commitment of the northern governors to strengthen the health sector and enhance routine immunisation.
“We should not be the part of the globe with the highest number of children and maternal mortality. We are really committed to save northern Nigeria.”
The community engagement meeting was attended by Governors of Kano, Borno, Kaduna and Bauchi states, Abdullahi Umar Ganduje, Kashim Shettima, Nasiru el- Rufai and Mohammed Abubakar as well as Minister of Health, Prof. Isaac Adewole.