The Minister of Health, Dr. Osagie Ehanire, Mr. Bill Gates, and Aliko Dangote have applauded the healthcare delivery system in Borno State.
According to the trio, the aggressive development of the state’s primary healthcare system despite a decade-long Boko Haram insurgency that destroyed about 50 per cent of such facilities was commendable.
They made the commendations while reviewing Borno’s 2020 immunisation and primary healthcare coverage across the state.
Gates, who co-chairs the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, spoke in a video conference held in Abuja last Thursday.
The state Governor, Babagana Zulum, the Health Minister, the Executive Director of National Primary Healthcare Development Agency (NPHCDA), Dr. Faisal Shuaib; World Health Organisation Country Director and the state’s Health Commissioner, Dr. Salihu Kwayabura, attended the video conference held at Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation office, Abuja.
Gates, who spoke while reviewing Borno’s healthcare progress said: “I’m impressed with Zulum’s quick response to the COVID-19 pandemic despite the security setbacks. This prevented what could have been a major impact in the state with various Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) in camps. I’m also satisfied with the evidence of the governor’s lead supervision and commitments to increase citizens’ access to primary healthcare across the state.”
Dangote, on his part, was also impressed with Zulum’s increased allocation to the health sector from eight per cent to 20 per cent in this year’s revised budget.
“I’m also impressed with the governor’s quick release of the state’s counterpart contribution to the ‘basket’, which collects finances from supporting health partners,” he noted.
He explained that the health partners comprise Gates and Dangote, as well as benefitting states that indicated their commitments to fund immunisation and other healthcare services.
“Zulum has done quite remarkably. I’m happy to announce that Dangote Foundation has also released its funds into the basket today (Thursday),” Dangote said.
Ehanire also said that he had been tracking the governor’s overall progress in healthcare delivery, noting that it was very impressive.
Shuaib of NPHCDA also expressed a similar opinion.
The four speakers, however, urged the state’s healthcare team to improve on its current drive.
While expressing his gratitude, Zulum said: “I’m very much grateful to Gates, Dangote, the Federal Ministry of Health, WHO and all other partners for supporting Borno’s healthcare development efforts.
“We have built 51 primary healthcare centres in line with the determination to have at least one each in Borno’s 312 wards.
“Approval has been made for the recruitment of hundreds of medical personnel and specific announcement would be made on Monday in Maiduguri.”
He also pledged to sustain and increase the healthcare delivery services to all residents in the state.