The WHO Country Representative, (WR) Dr Walter K. Malumbo, has given Kano State, a pat on the back for historic role in Polio Eradication and presently, efforts in ramping up Covid-19 vaccination in the State.
Speaking during an interactive session with the Governor at the Government House, on 24 August 2022, WR said, “The government and traditional institutions in Kano applied unorthodox strategies to address vaccine hesitancy and create demand for polio vaccines which led the eradication of the depilating disease.
He further commended Kano state government’s efforts towards providing sustainable health care financing mechanism through the establishment of the Kano state Health Trust Fund and Kano Contributory Health management Agency. “These great initiatives in addition to the effective utilization of Basic Healthcare Provision Funds (BHCPF) will indeed provide additional funding streams which will facilitate the state’s progress towards achieving universal health coverage”, said the WR.
Going down history lane, Dr Mulombo noted that when polio eradication initiative suffered major setbacks in 2003 and 2007 due to media campaigns, religious and sociocultural beliefs among others, Kano was the epicenter of the paralyzing disease.
Presently the WR noted that, “Sometime in the past Kano state was number 34 in COVID-19 vaccination exercise. But because of your commitment Your Excellency, Kano is now number 3 in the exercise. A tremendous achievement indeed.”
He revealed that some of the best practices and lessons learnt from Kano towards polio eradication and currently Covid-19 vaccination are being replicated in other States; to also to be employed for future public health interventions.
Kano State is one of the 36 states of Nigeria, located in the northern region of the country. According to the national census done in 2006 and Governor Ganduje, Kano State is the most populous in Nigeria. The WR was in Kano to advocate for a stronger collaboration between WHO and Kano state government in planning and implementation of priority interventions towards achieving Universal Health Coverage (UHC) and Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
During the visit, Governor Abudullahi Umar Ganduje appreciated WHO for strengthening health institutions and human resource development in the state and the country in general.
He assured the WR that the gains of polio eradication would be sustained as, ” our capacity is still intact. And we are directing same to other health areas. We are extremely happy about that.”
Governor Ganduje urged that, “While we are thanking you for all your efforts, we are still battling with this issue of malnutrition. Because of the high cost of dealing with this issue, we are now looking inward to make use of our local supplements.”
“We are therefore requesting partnership in this area of malnutrition. We also need partnership in public laboratory,” the governor said.
While in Kano, the WR also visited the Emir, His Royal Highness, Alhaji Aminu Ado Bayero at the ancient Place.
During their dialogue, Dr Mulombo also appreciated the paramount ruler for his invaluable contribution to polio eradication and most recently, support for covid-19 vaccination, making Kano one of the best performing in covid-19 vaccination.
Speaking, the monarch assured that, as the custodians of society, the onus is on them to enlighten their subjects on the importance of health. He added that in every community, Traditional leaders play a prominent role in mobilization for healthier population.
The WR also attended the WHO Northwest Zonal meeting in Kano and urged colleagues to do things differently by repositioning the State offices in the context of polio transition, to provide more integrated support to the States, based on peculiarities and State Strategic Health Development Plans and the WHO Nigeria CCSIII. The goal is to ensure health for all.