Nigeria Needs Political Will to Tackle Immunisable Diseases, Says WHO DG


Michael Olugbode in Maiduguri

The Director General of World Health Organisation (WHO), Dr. Tedros Ghebreyesus has called for stronger “political wills” by all tiers of the Nigerian government to ward off threats from diseases that could be immunised.

He said it was unfortunate that diseases that can be immunised continue to claim lives in the country.

The WHO DG was in Maiduguri recently to assess the progress of intervention of the United Nations agency and put a plan in place to arrest any health challenges that the proposed relocation of internally displaced persons to their homes might bring.

Ghebreyesus, who paid a visit on Borno State Governor, the Shehu of Borno and one of the IDPs camps within Maiduguri, said it was sad that immunisation rate in Borno state stood at 48 per cent, and below the global minimum standards of immunising children against six child-killer diseases.

The WHO DG told the Borno State Deputy Governor, Usman Durkwa who received him on behalf of Governor Kashim Shettima that with the pledge of political will from Borno State Government, the UN health agency will boost routine immunisations in the Boko Haram insurgency liberated communities across the state.

He said: “The political wills of all tiers of Government, will definitely overcome the challenges of immunisations and inaccessibility to liberated communities in the Northeast region.

“It will also facilitate and fast track the boosting of immunising children below the age of five in camps host communities and homes of returning Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) at Bama, Damasak, Mafa, Damboa, Gambouru /Ngala and Dikwa.

“We will boost immunisations in this region, provided that there is the political will to address most of the health issues and challenges in the insurgency affected states of Borno, Adamawa and Yobe,” he added and assured that WHO will ‘raise and expand’ routine immunisations.

Speaking at the Emergency Health Centre, Dr. Ghebreyesus said the Borno State Ministry of Health should use the same data on containing outbreaks of diseases and block all transmission points to save people’s lives.

He said the recent containment of cholera outbreaks in Kaga Local Government Area of Borno with 700 cases was commendable, as only three deaths were recorded.

He said: “We will support you and being proud of you on containing cholera in this state.

These were achieved, despite the challenges of inaccessibility to some liberated communities.”

The deputy governor, responding, assured the Director-General of the political will of Government, promising that the government will hasten to rebuild all the destroyed communities in the state.