Gates Foundation Earmarks $1.6bn Assistance for Nigeria

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Onyebuchi Ezigbo in Abuja

Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation has so far committed $1.6 billion to support its development intervention in Nigeria.

The Foundation’s Chief Strategy Officer and President Global Policy and Advocacy, Mark Suzuam, who spoke at an interactive session with journalists in Abuja, yesterday, said that the major target of its intervention in polio eradication in the country has substantially been achieved.

He said that apart from its supportive roles in the federal government-led effort to wipe out incidences of polio, the group had also assisted in raising funds to fight AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria.

In a fact sheet presented by the foundation, it said that efforts were further directed at empowering communities by supporting initiatives that lead to agricultural innovation.

Suzuam said he and other members of the foundation’s visiting team had earlier in the day met with state governors in Abuja under the auspices of the Nigeria Governors Forum where they urged them to try and scale up immunisation and vaccination activities in their respective states.

According to Suzuam, the need for more efforts in the implementation of immunisation programme has become necessary following recent reports of polio cases in some states in the North-west, North-east and South- west parts of the country.

He said that there was the need to sustain the immunisation and vaccination drive so as not to allow the health campaign to lose steam, thereby squandering the gains so far made.

Under its agricultural intervention programme, Bill and Melinda Foundation said it promotes transformation, helping in policy development, agriculture sector coordination and sector-wide investments at the federal and state levels.

“We help to empower Nigerian small holder farmers with knowledge, tools and tecnologies they need to increase their productivity in crops and livestock commodities and to have nutritious foods,” it said.