The World Health Organization (WHO) Regional Director for Africa, Dr. Moeti Matshidiso has pledged more humanitarian support for the North–Eastern states that were ravaged by insurgency.
Dr. Matshidiso made this pledge at the weekend in Maiduguri while meeting with the Executive Governor of Borno State, Alh. Kashim Shetima, who was represented by the Deputy Governor, Alh. Usman Mamman Durkwa.
Moeti said that the rationale behind her visit to Maiduguri was to interface with the Executive Governor and to seek for more political commitment from the state government who should work together with the WHO in providing healthcare services to the people living at the IDP camps and hard to reach areas in the state.
She said: “The essence of my visit is to understand better the situation that you are facing in trying to improve the health of most of the population under the current circumstances of humanitarian emergencies and to see what our teams have been doing under the leadership of Dr. Alemu (Country Director WHO) who is coordinating the contributions of other partners working here.”
“We are also to see how we can increase support and mobilize other partners to additionally provide more support needed in the state.” She added.
She appreciated the Executive Governor and partners for the rapid response to the cholera outbreak at the IDP camp, adding that the response had led to the decrease of the cases.
“We recognize that you are faced with multiple health challenges such as Hepatitis, Lassa Fever and Cholera, we have mobilized our health teams in Borno, Yobe and Adamawa States who have been providing humanitarian services, immunizations, surveillance and emergency response over the past two years.’’ she said.
In his remarks, the Permanent Secretary, Federal Minister of Health, Mr. Osarenoma Clement Uwaifo, said that the Federal Ministry of Health has been working in partnership with the Borno State Government in providing Health and Nutrition Emergency Services to the people of Borno State.
Mr. Uwaifo commended the WHO for their commitment in assisting the Nigerian Government in providing healthcare services during emergencies and for their intervention in Malaria prevention and control in Nigeria.
He added that the ACT malaria drugs donated to Nigeria by the Chinese Government were forwarded to Borno, Adamawa and Yobe States as part of Federal Government efforts to control malaria in the North-East.
While expressing delight over the expansion of Emergency Operation Centre (EOC) to manage diseases outbreak in Borno State by the WHO, he called on the WHO to continue supporting the health activities in the North-East and Nigeria in general.
Speaking at the occasion, the Borno State Executive Governor assured that the Borno State Government remained resolute in the fight against polio in Nigeria.
He said though the global community was aware of the security challenges militating against the success of polio eradication, however, with the support of the military, the state government was recording greater success in immunizing children in the most hard to reach areas.
Shetima said that the intensified military operation of recent months, and the support given to the programme by the security agencies made it possible to reach previously trapped populations with vaccines, and other health commodities.
“It is hoped that with the support of all I believe we can close the chapter of polio very soon.” He noted.
In her remarks, the Head, Health and Nutrition Emergency Response, Federal Ministry of Health, Dr. Ngozi Azodoh said that the visit of WHO Regional Director for Africa to Nigeria at that moment had underscored the importance of the contributions made by the Federal Ministry of Health in the Health and Nutrition Service to the people of Borno State.
Speaking on the Federal Government’s effort on polio eradication, Dr. Azodoh said: “the fight against polio and other child killer diseases is our fight, we cannot relent, we must make sure that every single child is immunized against polio until every part of Nigeria is declared free from polio”