Vice President Kashim Shettima says Nigeria is committed to eradicating variant poliovirus by the end of the year.
He added that the Federal Government would work with state governments to address concerns around the financing of Nigeria’s primary healthcare system.
Shettima revealed this at a parley with some members of the Nigeria Governors’ Forum, Aliko Dangote and Bill Gates at the State House Banquet Hall, Abuja.
He said, “The Federal Government is committed to eradicating variant poliovirus by the end of the year ensuring that every Nigerian child is covered in the routine immunisation campaigns.”
The State House Director of Information, Office of the Vice President, Olusola Abiola, disclosed this in a statement he signed Thursday titled; ‘We are going to address the concerns that surround financing our primary healthcare system – VP Shettima.’
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 commended states that had achieved high category immunisation coverage, which is between 60 per cent and 80 per cent of the target population.
He added that the number of states had increased from 12 to 21 states in five years.
On the issue of production of vaccines for immunisation of children, he promised that the FG and states are “going to work together to ensure that these vaccines are made available even to zero-dose children, of which ours, at two million, are the highest in the world after India.”
Earlier in his remarks at the interactive session, Gates revealed that his foundation had recently announced the intention to commit $7bn to Africa in the next four years; to support routine immunisation in Nigeria, and the Global Polio Eradication Initiative in Northern Nigeria.
Also speaking, Dangote stated that Gates and himself had been partnering with both the federal and state governments for several years, supporting the efforts to eradicate polio and improve routine immunisation, nutrition and primary healthcare in the country.
In separate remarks, the Chairman of Nigeria Governors’ Forum, AbdulRaman AbdulRazaq and some governors who spoke at the parley lauded the philanthropic interventions of the Dangote and Bill & Melinda Gates Foundations in health care, education, agriculture and human capital development.