By Mohammed Abubakar,
World Health Organisation (WHO) Country Representative and Chief of Mission for Nigeria, Dr Alemu Wandimagegnehu, has commended Governor Ibrahim Gaidam of Yobe State for his leadership in preventing polio outbreak in the state for three years running and for turning around the state's healthcare sector.
"First, allow me to congratulate your excellency for maintaining polio-free status for 3 years. The state has done wonderfully despite security challenges and also, despite the WPV outbreak in the neighbouring Borno State.
"This wouldn’t have been possible without your leadership and commitment to the healthcare of your people. Your support to health has been monumental. We have noted regular support your administration has been giving to Supplemental Immunisations (Polio and non-Polio) through regular release of counterpart funding. The release of the State Counterpart funding for the Routine Immunisation tripartite basket fund for year two is a clear testimony of your commitment to health. You have prioritised Health and Education", he said.
Wandimagegnehu spoke during a visit to the governor at Government House Damaturu.
The WHO chief also commended the governor for other inItiatives in the healthcare sector and lauded traditional and community leaders for their role in educating the populace about the importance of routine immunisation.
While pledging to continue to partner the Yobe State government, the WHO chief called for increased political participation of local government chairmen to achieving the 'Abuja commitment' towards polio eradication.
He also called on His Excellency the governor to strengthen the commitment by holding quarterly meeting with the chairmen.
He also called for increased commitment in fighting violence against women in the state.
On his part, Governor Gaidam expressed the appreciation of the state government to WHO for its technical support "for the conduct of monthly disease surveillance, review of surveillance focal sites and outbreak investigations".
"We appreciate the training, capacity building and payment of stipends extended to our health personnel assigned to perform health-related ad-hoc duties", the governor said.
Gaidam said that the Yobe State government considers healthcare one of its most important priorities and will continue to invest in order to strengthen the sector and improve healthcare service delivery across the state.