He wasn’t talking about the shares of his company in stock market, or about price of a bag of cement or sugar or flour or how to widen his businesses in Africa, no, he was talking about health as if he is a health worker of a sort. He was using our regular health lexicons in the midst of health experts. “Iam impressed to see that supportive supervision has improved over the months in Kano and Bauchi and the 2 states are moving towards implementing primary health care under one roof and ensuring that the gains of the previous years in routine immunization will impact positively. The new states coming on board could learn something to execute”. This was Alhaji Aliko Dangote talking during the much publicized and influential ceremony hosted by the executive governor of Kaduna State Mallam Nasir Elrufai at the government house on Wednesday 20th January 2016 with the founder of Microsoft, Mr. Bill Gates and President of Dangote Group, Alhaji Aliko Dangote and 6 northern Nigerian Governors.
Iam interested in the 2 gentlemen not because they are the richest in Africa and the world respectively, but because they are spending quality time and their money investing and supporting Immunization in Nigeria. They could equally fund Immunization and allow their staff to manage all the negotiations and technical work with the states but they are always around be it physically or virtually participating in review meetings and asking relevant questions and demanding for answers.
These attitudes by the 2 rich men is equally inspiring everybody to be committed including President Buhari and his minsters. A day after the Kaduna ceremony, the duo were in Abuja in another ceremony with Katsina and Zamfara States Governments and signed a new award to the tune of $1million each for the 2 states for the success recorded in polio eradication and to use the resources to improve cold chain and vaccines logistics. The award was in recognition of the 2 states’ relentless campaign against polio which led to the successful eradication of the disease in the two states. The statement indicated that the states were awarded based on their commitments in the fight against polio.
In his address during the Kaduna ceremony Governor, Malam Nasir Ahmad El-Rufai said the 6 governors of Kaduna, Borno, Kano, Bauchi, Yobe and Borno were united in their desire to improve healthcare of their people as a means of guaranteeing quality population. He said improving healthcare borders on provision of quality services and investing in the capacity of the health personnel. The MoU for the tripartite agreement of the 6 states has set the stage for coordinated Immunisation program in the 6 states by pooling funds into one basket. The objective is to reach a sustainable rate of 80% immunization coverage in the said states over a period of 3 years.
The roles and responsibilities of parties are; Governance and leadership: The State Task force on immunization (SITF) headed by deputy governors will provide leadership and oversight for the Immunisation program with support from the partners. The states will establish a budget line for RI and a basket fund managed by the state primary health care development agencies and establish a direct reimbursement system. The states and the partners will contribute funding annually to the basket fund (30/70, 50/50, 65/35 and 100/0) respectively.
Before departing Nigeria the 2 richest men also had a closed door meeting with President Buhari and his economic and health team and reiterated their readiness to continue supporting Nigeria to improve its health sector and in addressing preventable childhood killer diseases through improving Routine Immunization.
An inspiring Alhaji Aminu Tambuwal the Executive Governor of Sokoto State had this to say during the ceremony “this signing of this agreement marked the beginning of partnership in Sokoto State and our presence here today is a demonstration of commitment. We have already acknowledgement the Routine Immunization is already low in our state and we are committed to improve its coverage and pay our counterpart funding to the agreement before end of February 2016. And by December 2018 we are committed to reach 80% Immunization coverage as we have establish our state primary health care development agency and we will work hard to strengthen its operation.”
In conclusion, we should continue to encourage these 2 gentlemen and also use their approach if strategic engagement to spark off genuine interest among Nigeria’s rich people to join them in this crusade.
All comments to Dr Aminu Magashi Publisher Health Reporters (firstname.lastname@example.org)