By Asma’u Ahmad
The Country Representative of Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, Dr. Mairo Mandara, says the organisation is doing everything possible to eradicate malaria worldwide.
Dr. Mairo who stated this at a news conference in Abuja on Friday, noted that eradicating malaria in the world was possible, just like it had done with polio which was almost being eradicated.
“We want to eradicate malaria on earth, can you imagine a malaria-free world? When Mr. Gates talked about a world that will be free from polio, people thought he was joking but now we have polio in only three countries: Afghanistan, Pakistan and Nigeria.
“Nigeria is almost there, but for the insurgency in some part of the north where we have pockets of children that are not immunised, so we are going to eradicate polio and after we do that we will go after malaria,” she said.
According to her, the biggest interventions of the foundation in Nigeria has been in polio eradication and strengthening routine immunisation.
The others were family health, nutrition, agriculture, strategic partnerships, integrated delivery and financial inclusion.
Mairo Mandara said that the foundation believed that no child should die because of preventable diseases, adding that it would ensure that every disease that had a vaccine would not kill children anymore.
She said that the foundation was also taking measures to ensure that as many mothers as possible had essential maternal, newborn and child care.
Dr. Mandara added that it was also supporting families to make informed decisions about the type of families they want to have to enable them access the family planning options available.
She said: “We are also investing in nutrition in partnership with the Dangote Foundation to make sure that the most critical portion of a person’s life is taken care of. We believe that life is not just health but is about livelihood as well, so we support agriculture and the group of people we support are small-holder farmers.”
She said it is the hope of the foundation that Nigerians would take the lead in sorting out their health systems in the next five years.
“We want to see a situation where everybody, regardless of where you live in the country can access basic healthcare services, universal health coverage for all and I have no doubt Nigeria can do it,” she added.
Newsmen reports that the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation has been supporting humanitarian cause in Nigeria through donations to the government and other Non-Governmental Organisations (NGO) for more than 10 years.