Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation have called on the Nigeria Army to support the campaign against polio in the Northeast to ensure total eradication of the disease.
Lt. Yemi Sokoya, the Assistant Director, Army Public Relations, 22 Brigade, said this in a statement issued on Sunday in Maiduguri by Mr Michael Galway, the Foundation’s Country Coordinator.
Galway made the call when he visited the 22 Armoured Brigade, Dikwa, Borno.
Galway said that such collaboration with the military was necessary to facilitate conduct of immunisation in areas ravaged by Boko Haram insurgents in Lake Chad region.
He lamented that the disease manifested itself in 2016, after previous successes recorded in the campaign against it. The coordinator said the ongoing conflict with Boko Haram insurgents made it difficult to immunise children in the affected communities.
“Polio virus is harboring in areas where the insurgents’ operates; it is really difficult for immunisation workers to reach.
“I believe that it is only the Nigerian Army who can take the vaccine to those areas, most especially the liberated communities; with the use of mobile devices for effective coordination,” Galway said.
He added that polio campaign was at its final stage and expressed optimism that such cooperation would assist to achieve the set goal. Responding, Brig.-Gen. John Ochai, the Brigade Commander, pledged support to ensure the success of the exercise in the region. Ochai lauded the foundation over its health interventions despite the security challenges in the Northeast region..
“The Foundation is pursuing a worthy cause and we are ready to collaborate with you to achieve the goal.
“I can assure you that within the limit of our logistics, we would cover all the villages to achieve the desired result,” said the brigade commander. (NAN)