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Polio: Nigeria gets €30.5m Germany lifeline, Kwara embarks on immunisation

The German Minister of Health, Mr Jens Spahn, has announced €30.5 million support to Nigeria to end polio, enhance health security and strengthen the country’s health system.

Polio immunisation
Polio immunisation in Nigeria. Photo credit: comminit.com

Spahn made the disclosure during a bilateral dialogue between Federal Ministry of Health and the Ministry of Health of Germany on Saturday, October 5, 2019 in Abuja.

He said the parties (Nigeria and Germany) discussed on the eradication of polio where Germany was strongly cooperating with Nigeria to end the disease.

He said the bilateral dialogue has identified five hospitals in Nigeria that would be supported by Germany’s Ministry of Economic Development as pilot scheme of the train-the-trainer concept towards better healthcare delivery.

He said the collaboration between the two countries would involve fight against infectious diseases adding that the German and Nigerian centers for disease control are cooperating to strengthen and harness health security.
He said the funding was about €30 million in the area of polio eradication while the area of hospitals, agriculture, education, and Skills Acquisition would receive about €500,000 at the moment.

Minister of Health, Dr Osagie Ehanire, said the ministry has received group of visitors from Germany lead by the German Minister of Health, Secretary of State from Germany and German Ambassador to Nigeria.

The minister said the bilateral dialogue was hinged on technical cooperation towards strengthening the Nigerian healthcare system.

He added that dialogue has focused more on public health issues and improvement of Nigeria’s health system where Nigeria need the cooperation and expertise of Germany to be able to make progress.

Ehanire said Nigeria need more support from Germany in the areas of patient transportation, e-health, mobile health, enhancing the healthcare system of Nigeria and service delivery.

The minister noted that the German Government was providing support in health, agriculture, education particularly in vocational education which Nigeria currently need to reduce migration to Europe.

He noted Nigeria has a domestic challenge with maternal mortality which it was trying to address, stressing that government was exploring areas of partnership with Germany and other partners to stem the challenge.

Similarly, the minister lamented over brain drain and migration of Nigeria’s medical doctors to Europe, adding it was an unfortunate incidence because Nigeria spent huge amount of money to train doctors and nurses.

“When we lose them it means we are losing a lot of money to Europe and America,” he said.

The minister said that lack of opportunities was a driving factor for doctors and nurses migration, he however emphasised that government would contain the challenge.

Ehanire said Nigeria has also requested for medical experts on surgery, Oncology, and other medical sciences from the German delegation who would volunteer to boost service delivery in the country.

“We are expecting this will find a good response.

“Even though many doctors are flying to Europe, we may similarly get an experts from Germany coming in to the country to help us improve our patient care and service delivery,’’ he said.

Similarly, Dr Chikwe Ihekweazu, Director General, Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC), said relationship with German Institutes that were similar to NCDC was technical collaborative arrangement.

He added that the collaboration allow the two countries to learn from each other and Nigeria would use the technical expertise of Germany to develop its own system for better outcome.

In a related development, the Kwara State Government has directed Directors of Personnel Management (DPM) in all the 16 Local Government Areas of the state to play an active role in the drive to eradicate polio and other immune diseases.

The state Deputy Governor, Mr Kayode Alabi, said this at a meeting with the DPM on Saturday, October 5 in Ilorin, the state capital.

Alabi, who said the meeting was to review the progress of the Primary Health Care and the immunisation exercise, called on them to mobilise their people to ensure the success of the programme.

The Deputy Governor, who is the Chairman of the State Task Force on Immunisation, urged them to cooperate with the state government to exterminate polio and other diseases in the state.

He implored the people to take the issue of immunisation seriously and encourage their children to be vaccinated during the immunisation period.

He said that the state government was determined to improve the health sector, hence the attention given to the payment of counterpart funds, among others.

Alabi commended the various stakeholders for their support and assistance in ensuring the success of the programme.

The Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Health, Dr Rhoda Ajiboye, called on the DPM to accord priority to immunisation and open the necessary accounts to benefit from the intervention fund.

Also speaking, the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Local Government, Chieftaincy Affairs and Community Development, Hajiya Ajibike Katibi, noted that the DPM had critical roles to play to make the state Polio free.

She appealed to them not to shun their responsibilities.

The State Coordinator, National Primary Health Care Development, Mrs Bolatito Oladipo and the World Health Organisation State Coordinator, Mr Mustapha Katibi, commended the positive disposition and giant stride achieved by the state government in the health sector.

They pledged their support to ensure the success of the programme.

The Executive Secretary of the Primary Health Care Development Agency, Dr Bimbola Folorunsho, commended the state government for the prompt release of its counterpart funds and the political commitment to make the exercise a huge success.

Folorunsho, who was represented by Dr Micheal Oguntoye, gave analysis on the performance of the local governments and called on the state government to provide vehicles, boats and life jackets to effectively cover the riverine areas.

Responding, the Chairman of the DPM Forum, Alhaji Abdulkareem Yekeen pledged their readiness to complement the effort of the state government to achieve the desired result.

By Mustapha Yauri and Afusat Agunbiade-Oladipo

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