Chairman, Dangote Foundation and Africa’s foremost philanthropist, Aliko Dangote has urged governments across Africa, especially the Federal Government of Nigeria, and state governments to increase their budget allocations to the healthcare sector, to help ensure improved basic healthcare for the people.
Dangote, in his remarks at the formal certification of Wild Poliovirus Eradication in Africa during a virtual forum organised by the World Health Organisation (WHO) Regional Office for Africa, expressed deep satisfaction at the final eradication of wild polio in Nigeria, and by extension Africa after years of hard work and collaboration among stakeholders.
The renowned humanitarian, who was commended alongside Co-Chair of Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Bill Gates by President Muhammadu Buhari for their vital interventions in the strengthening of Routine Immunisation (RI) in Nigeria, pledged to devote more of his wealth to support the provision of adequate quality healthcare to curb maternal and child mortality.
Dangote, who played a major role through his Foundation in the eradication of polio in Nigeria, said: “I want to commend our African leaders, especially my own President Muhammadu Buhari of Nigeria for his leadership. All levels of government have successfully come together to make this day possible.
“Africa’s young people will drive our continent’s future success. It is our duty as leaders to invest now in their health and well-being. That is why I started my Foundation in 1994, and why I have been pushing to eradicate polio across Africa for many years. Because nothing is more important than the health of our children.
“Ending wild polio in Africa is a giant leap forward. We have shown that if we stay clear-eyed and committed to a goal, we can get results. We must always be tenacious to get where we want to go. I know Bill understands that too. We need to apply the same mindset on public health across Africa, beginning with us here today. The onus is on us to continue this push forward, until polio in all its forms is gone forever.”
According to him,: “There is no better time than now. We must be dedicated to this fight, and make the sustained investments in immunisations, medical workers, and public health that will make a difference.”
“We must also make a sustained political commitment – until the job is done – that we will achieve this goal. And that we will hold ourselves accountable for the results, good or bad. I also pledge to continue helping in this fight any way I can. I believe the private sector and government are natural partners”, he added.
He commended the efforts of the top officials of the Foundation, including the CEO, Zouera Youssoufou and Ahmed Iya for their untiring efforts in ensuring the end of polio in Nigeria, and also the various government agencies and development partners who collaborated to make the certification possible.
These, among others, include the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation; the WHO; the United States Agency for International Development (USAID); the UK Department for International Development (DfID); the Federal Ministry of Health; the National Primary Health Care Development Agency (NPHCDA) and the Governors of Kano, Kaduna, Bauchi, Borno, Sokoto and Yobe States.