The internationally renowned philanthropist Bill Gates and Aliko Dangote, the richest man in Africa, have received praises from Governor Abdullahi Ganduje of Kano state for their selfless contributions towards the fight against polio that has led Nigeria to attain the position of a Polio-free nation.
Polio once was a common virus. In some young children it can affect the nerves and cause muscle weakness or paralysis. There is no treatment and no cure but getting vaccinated can prevent infection.
A large part of the eradication effort has been through the Global Polio Eradication Initiative (GPEI), which was created in 1988 and is led by national governments and five partners — Rotary International, WHO, UNICEF, US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.
US Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar, US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Director Dr. Robert Redfield and Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation co-chair Bill Gates congratulated Africa on the eradication of polio during the certification event for this milestone on Tuesday.
”Today is a historic day for global health, and it’s a cause for celebration for everyone who works to improve Africans health,” Azar said in a prerecorded message. “Congratulations to everyone who helped make it possible.”
Governments and nonprofits have been working since 1996 to try to eradicate the virus from the African continent with sustained vaccination campaigns. Almost 9 billion polio vaccines have been delivered, Tedros said.
The governor praised the duo on Wednesday while addressing the state council on the need to continue the surveillance on the virus even after the success of the fight against the disease. He added that the position was as a result of collective action towards the disease.
“People like Aliko Dangote, Chairman Dangote Foundation and Bill Gates, of Bills and Melinda Gates Foundation, who spent millions of US Dollars deserve special recognition and appreciation.”
The governor added that other stakeholders, like development partners “Nigeria’s attainment of Polio-Free status, does not, in any way mean stopping surveillance on the virus. Experts will keep on with the surveillance as specified by their rule of engagement and in line with WHO surveillance guidelines, so as to sustain the position” Ganduje stated.
“I could recall when I was the Deputy Governor, I was chairing the Committee against Polio in Kano state. I must commend those who contributed immensely in the fight against the disease. I must mention the Sarkin Yakin Kano, Wada Aliyu Gaya among other stakeholders who stood firmly by me in the fight,” he stated.