….Adewole charges leaders to take responsibility for providing vaccines to the people
Traditional Rulers and Governors from Northern Nigeria have expressed their resolve to seek the support of President Muhammadu Buhari as they pledged to get behind the health agenda of the Federal Government of Nigeria in a bid to improve health outcomes of their people.
The group reached this decision on Tuesday during the Emergency Meeting of the Northern Traditional Rulers Committee on PHC delivery jointly convened by the Sultan of Sokoto, His Eminence, Alh. Abubakar Saad III and the Minister of Health Prof. Isaac Adewole in response to the outbreak of Cerebro-Spinal Meningitis at the Kaduna state government house.
According to the communiqué delivered by the chairman of the Nigeria Governors Forum, Alh. Abdulaziz Yari of Zamfara state, the committee will embark on a high level advocacy visit to the President to seek his leadership support to ensure the efficient mobilisation of resources for the health of the Northern people who are the most vulnerable.
In his presentation, Prof. Adewole called on states to invest with the health of their people beginning with the PHC system. He called on the participants to work together so as to build a health system that it robust, resilient and the enabling where things happen.
He decried a situation where Nigeria has continued to depend on relations and donors for vaccines supply and called on the participants to take responsibility for their people. He noted that subsidised vaccines provided by GAVI will no longer be available from 2025 and recommended the institution of an immunisation trust fund.
“Part of our suggestion is to have an immunisation trust fund. For too long we have been immunising our children using donations and so on. We must take responsibility, they are Nigerian children and we must provide resources to immunise them.”
In his remarks earlier, the Executive Director of the NPHCDA, Dr. Faisal Shuaib called for state governments to go back to the Primary Healthcare system. He disclosed that the Health Minister has approved the stocking of vaccines against future epidemics.
According to him, Nigeria has initiated discussions with manufacturers to secure two million doses of meningococcal polysaccharide AC vaccine. He also disclosed that there is currently no shortage of the vaccines required to tackle the outbreak.
During the meeting, the traditional rulers, governors and state health commissioners were briefed by the Chief Epidemiologist Dr. Sani-Gwarzo and the CEO of the Nigeria Center for Diseases Control, Dr. Chikwe Ihekweazu on the activity of the Federal Government in response to the meningitis outbreak and the challenges faced especially as a result to weak health systems; lack of human resource, inability to detect and delayed reporting among others. They called on the states to put this system in place and for traditional rulers to help mobilise and educate their wards on some of the behavioural changes which could have easily prevented this outbreak.
In her response to question from a certain section of Press, the Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of health, Mrs Binta Adamu Bello underscored the important role of Health workers in providing quality care to the people and called on the health professionals to adopt right attitude to work and support the effort of government at all levels to provide qualitative health care to the people.
The traditional leaders expressed sincere gratitude to the honourable minister and all front line health workers working on controlling the meningitis outbreak and promised to intensify advocacy to ensure resources are available for public health. They also resolved to step up awareness and mobilisation of their domain toward the adoption of preventive measures and health seeking behaviour.
Boade Akinola (Mrs)
For: Hon Minister.