Nigeria Can Defeat Polio Despite Challenges- Bill Gates
The Microsoft co-founder and Nigerian benefactor, Mr. Bill Gates has expressed optimism on the capability of Nigeria to defeat polio despite the challenges of accessing the children in the most vulnerable areas for immunization.
Gates, who spoke to the Voice of America “Africa 54” program on Wednesday described as disappointing the 2 new reported cases of polio in the North Eastern Nigeria after so much success in polio eradication but expressed confidence that the situation will be brought under control.
He therefore called for greater partnership with government in the north eastern region of Nigeria to tackle the situation.
“Our main challenge is that we have kids who the vaccinators have a tough time finding. Reaching the kids in an unsecured environment can be very complex, and so we’re going to need great partnerships with the governments in the region, particularly in Borno State”, Gates said.
Speaking on the accessibility to the endemic areas of the country despite the security challenges, the Nigerian Health Minister said that the troops are accompanying the health workers to the affected areas and children are being vaccinated; adding that the government has declared a polio emergency in the area. Professor Adewole also said that the military medical teams have also joined in reaching the areas as well as collaborating on the on-going vaccination at the various Internally Displaced camps (IDPs).
The WHO also lend their voices to the capability of the Nigerian government to address the issue with a commitment to support the country in eradicating polio at the ongoing Regional Committee meeting in Addis Ababa.