The government of Niger State has recently reached out to the World Health Organisation (WHO) for further assistance in eradicating poliomyelitis and other diseases. Governor Umaru Bago expressed this request during a meeting with a delegation led by Jamal Ahmed, coordinator for the Polio Eradication Initiative at the WHO Regional Office for Africa in Minna.
While addressing the delegation on behalf of the governor, Deputy Governor Yakubu Garba emphasized the importance of increased funding from the organisation to effectively combat polio and other preventable diseases. He mentioned that a thorough assessment of the state’s performance in public health would serve as motivation for the government to enhance its efforts in this area.
Garba also acknowledged the significant financial challenges faced by the health sector, noting that the state government had already made substantial payments towards its counterpart funding. However, he expressed the need for additional funding from the WHO to achieve better results, particularly in the areas of surveillance, supplementary immunisation, capacity building, and regular review meetings.
The governor’s representative expressed gratitude to the organisation for its intervention in Niger State, which amounted to N1.1 billion during the specified period. This assistance has been instrumental in curbing the outbreak of variant polioviruses that have affected Niger State, as well as neighboring states such as Katsina, Zamfara, and Sokoto.
In response, Jamal Ahmed commended the government of Niger State for establishing a robust structure at the state, local, and ward levels to combat polio. He highlighted the remarkable progress made by Nigeria in reducing the prevalence of the new polio variant by 95 percent.