By; Mohammed Kawu, Bauchi.
The United States billionaire and founder of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, Mr. Bill Gates has commended Governor Mohammed Abdullahi Abubakar for his commitment to strengthen health funding and for ensuring that the 2016 State contribution to the duo collaboration around routine immunization.
Mr. Bill Gates in a letter he wrote and personally signed, said due to commitment to the provision and development of affordable and accessible healthcare services especially to women and children under 5 by the Governor since assuming office last year, there has been great progress on polio eradication, and expressed apprecition for the commitment to ensure Nigeria is certified polio-free.
The United States philanthropist who was in Kaduna for the 2015 review of the Bauchi State’s routine immunization program with the Dangote Foundation, Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and the United States Agency for International Development in December last year, commended Bauchi State for placing health care delivery on the front burner by paying serious attention to preventive rather than curative measures.
“I am impressed by the Bauchi State’s progress to improve the basic fundamentals of its routine immunizations system, notably, ensuring full implementation of primary health care under one roof with adequate strengthening of the zonal/area offices. This is a critical matter requiring your ongoing support”, Gates said.
“Equally impressive are the enormous strides undertaken by Bauchi State to improve supply chain and logistics, financial flows to health facilities and its supervision program” the philanthropist added.
Governor Mohammed Abubakar of Bauchi State has appropriated 16% of the 2016 proposed budget to health, which is above the 15% approved in the 2001 Abuja declaration, making it the highest made by any state in the federation, and also the highest made to any sector in the state’s appropriation bills.
Under the MOU with Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and Dangote Foundation, Bauchi is to pay 30% of the sum needed for carrying out the routine immunization exercise, while Dangote and Gates will pay 30% and 40% respectively, but at the moment Bauchi State Government pays 50% of the total sum while Dangote Foundation and Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation pay the remaining 50%.
The Dangote Foundation withheld its own contribution to the basket because the immediate past administration in the state failed to redeem its obligations of contributing, until the present administration paid up the remaining N165 million backlogs before the resumption of the Dangote Foundation.
Governor Mohammed Abubakar has shown commitment to eradicating polio and all other preventable diseases in the State, a reason that informed his decision to introduce a 5 point health agenda tagged “Lafiya Garkuwa” that seeks to make health care not only affordable but accessible to all, especially women and children under 5 years.
Governor Mohammed Abubakar had at the review meeting assured that his administration will promote stronger partnership with traditional and religious institutions to mobilize communities and families to receive these routine life-saving vaccines to make Bauchi a permanent reference point for effective management.