US supports Nigeria in efforts to stamp out Polio

Godwin Ukaa, Abuja

A child receiving polio vaccine

The US has continued to contribute the annual sum of over 23 million dollars to support immunization activities in Nigeria.

The Charge D Affairs of U.S. Mission in Nigeria, Mr David Young on Friday stated this while inaugurating and officially handing over Jikoko Community Health Centre, a project supported by U.S. Ambassador’s small Grant Programme in Bwari Local Council Area, a suburban area of Abuja, the Nigerian capital.

He explained that the U.S. Agency for International Development, USAID, made an average contribution of 7.35 million dollars to support Nigeria’s polio programme.

Mr Young stated that the US was committed to the fight against polio in Nigeria and for the country to wipe out the disease once and for all.

 “In addition to the annual contribution the polio programme also received an additional seven million dollars at the national level in 2016 and provided technical assistance in Bauchi, Katsina and Sokoto States.

The U.S. Government is appreciated of our work with the National Primary Health Development Agency, the UN agencies, state governments as well as National Stop Transmission of Polio programme and GAVI alliance”. He noted.

He urged the Nigerian health workers and the government to intensify efforts through its efforts and other donor agencies support to stamp out polio in the country for ever.

We urged them to strengthen this work to kick out polio out of Nigeria. Nigeria is the only country in Africa that is still on the endemic list of polio.

“Health workers are encouraged to continue to make the provision and demand for immunization a priority,” he said

The envoy said that U.S. always cooperates with other partners and government to make a difference in Nigeria.

He expressed confident that the commissioning of the health centre in the community would contribute towards the goal to kick out polio by providing immunization services, including polio vaccines.

He stressed that the clinic would contribute to reducing morbidity and mortality among children.

 “The commissioning of the clinic was an indication that health is one of the priority areas of U.S. development assistance in Nigeria. He said

He noted that the health of children was the future of the family, community and the country in general.

In a similar vein, the US Envoy; Mr Young said that U.S support for HIV/AIDS programmes and activities in Nigeria between 2014 and 2016 totaled more than 4.3 billion dollars with more than 700,000 patients treated in 2016 alone.

 On his part, the representative of the community, Mr Ismaila Shaizaza commended the U.S. government for the support on the part of the Bwari Local Government and Tabitha Cumi Foundation for making the centre possible.

Giving assurance that the community would make judicious use of the clinic, Mr Shaizaza urged the Chairman of the council to give adequate staff to clinic which is currently with one staff and two volunteers.

The Chairman of the Bwari Area Council in the Nigerian Federal Capital territory, Mr Musa Dikko assured the international agency of the effective and efficient use of the centre. He promised to ensure that the centre is fully equipped and staffed for the maximum benefit of the community

The Executive Director, Tabitha Cumi Foundation, Mrs Tayo Erinle also said that the foundation would continue to monitor and evaluate the centre.

The centre is a self help community project, built with the assistance of Tabitha Cumi Foundation with a U.S. Ambassadorial grant of 10, 000 dollars.