The governor of Yobe State, Mai Mala Buni, has expressed his administration’s commitment to strengthening primary healthcare and Routine Immunization, assuring that he would establish 178 primary healthcare facilities in each of the 178 wards in the state.
Speaking at a mid-year videoconference review meeting with Co-Chair of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, Bill Gates and the Chairman of Dangote Foundation, Aliko Dangote on strengthening Routine Immunization in Yobe State, Mr Buni also expressed his commitment towards ensuring that Yobe State remains polio-free.
Mr Buni revealed that as part of effort to strengthen primary healthcare, more primary health centres will be built throughout the state to cater to 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,” the governor said during the meeting, which took place at the Polio Emergency Operations Centre in Abuja.
The review meeting was part of the Memorandum of Understanding, MoU, signed by the Yobe State Government and the Bill and Melinda Gates and Dangote Foundations. The MoU is due to enter its second phase of additional five years.
“It is testament to the commitment of the three parties to the MoU and all the stakeholders involved that primary healthcare and routine immunization activities have been widened throughout the state.
“We are now reaching more eligible new-borns, children and women with vaccines and other life-saving commodities. In the process, we continue to make progress in reducing maternal and child mortality and morbidity in the state,” the governor said.
Mr Buni assured Messrs Gates and Dangote that that the Yobe State Government will do everything necessary to improve access to quality healthcare and “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 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.
“Traditional, community and religious leaders and the chairmen of local government councils have been very helpful in the successes recorded so far. I appreciate their effort and urge them to pitch in and do more. The goal of a working, thriving primary healthcare system in our state is within our reach when we continue to work together,” he said.
Mr Buni also revealed that to make the state eligible to access the Basic Healthcare Provision Fund, his administration will fast-track the establishment of the Contributory Health Management Agency and a Drugs and Consumables Management Agency.
Both Messrs Gates and 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”.
He, however, urged Mr Buni to ensure timely release of counterpart funds to cover more ground in routine immunization.
On his part, Mr Dangote praised the progress of Yobe in “healthcare, including immunization”.
He said 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.
In his remark, the Emir of Fika and chairman of the Yobe State Council of Chiefs, Muhammadu Abali Ibn Muhammadu Idrissa, assured that traditional rulers would continue to pitch in and incentivise their communities to participate fully and actively in routine immunization.