The Honourable Minister of the FCT, Malam Muhammad Musa Bello has appealed to the UN Foundation to seek for ways to tackle the menace of malaria, which he described as the new frontier in disease control and eradication in Nigeria and indeed sub Saharan Africa.

The Minister made this appeal when he received a delegation from the United Nations Foundation’s Global Immunization Learning Trip to Nigeria, on a courtesy visit to the FCTA on Tuesday, 16th August 2022.

According to Malam Bello, the successful eradication of malaria will result in positive social change as it will enhance economic productivity, reduce infant mortality, improve security and ensure the general wellbeing of the populace.

The Minister also appealed for the deployment of the newly developed malaria vaccine in Nigeria, saying that society and humanity in general will be better for it.

While thanking the Government and people of the United States  of America for their interventions in the fight against diseases such as polio and guinea worm where he especially acknowledged the Carter Foundation and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, the Minister also thanked the World Health Organisation (WHO) for its efforts in the fight against COVID-19.

The Minister also emphasized on the collaborative efforts of traditional and religious institutions, philanthropic organisations the government and the citizenry in the battle against diseases of public health concern.

He said “eradicating diseases of this nature (polio) requires a lot of interface with the leaders of religious and cultural communities. I think that is key and the turning point in fighting polio in Nigeria, especially in the North, when the Sultan of Sokoto came on board, galvanized leaders within the traditional and religious communities to understand that polio was a medical issue and was treatable”

Speaking earlier, Dr Walter Kazadi Mulombo, the WHO Representative in Nigeria who led the delegation made up of US Congressional staff, USAID officials, UN Foundation Officials and the WHO, said that the delegation was in Nigeria to ascertain the impact of the United States’ investment in polio eradication in Nigeria while taking into consideration the fact that the disease has not been completely eliminated.

In the words of Dr Mulombo “the team is here to learn what has been the impact of that investment on polio eradication itself, bearing in mind that the work is not yet done as we still have some cases of wild polio virus in two countries. So, we would like to know how Nigeria has used US government investment in polio and also to strengthen some other areas of immunization.”

Also speaking, Mr Brian Massa, the Director, Global Health Advocacy/Immunization and Global Health Security of the UN Foundation said that Nigeria had over the years performed well in its efforts at polio eradication but said that there was still work to be done.

Present at the event were the Permanent Secretary, FCTA Mr Olusade Adesola, Chief of Staff to the FCT Minister, Malam Bashir Mai-Bornu, The Secretary for Health and Human Services, Dr Abubakar Tafida, the Education Secretary Hon Sani Dahir El-Katuzu and senior officials of the FCTA.

 

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