29th September, 2011
President Goodluck Jonathan said Thursday in Abuja that a Special Federal Government Team will be constituted to oversee an all-out effort targeted at the total eradication of polio from Nigeria within twenty-four months.
Speaking at an audience with Mr. Bill Gates and a team from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, President Jonathan said that the Special Team will work with the Foundation, states and local Governments as well as traditional rulers to sustain the reduction in polio cases until the disease is completely eradicated from Nigeria.
â€œI can assure you that we will work very hard on polio with the objective of eradicating it in the next twenty-four months. It is now limited to about six states and eradicating it within our tenure is a goal we will pursue with full commitment,â€ the President told Mr. Gates and his team.
Thanking Mr. Gates for the support his foundation has been rendering towards the eradication of polio from Nigeria, President Jonathan pledged that his administration will do all within its powers to ensure that the disease is speedily eradicated so that the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation can turn its attention to assisting Nigeria in other areas such as agricultural development.
He said that his administration will also welcome greater collaboration with the foundation in its efforts to improve health-care delivery in Nigeria and drastically reduce the large number of Nigerians who seek medical care abroad annually.
Mr. Gates told President Jonathan that he had spent most of the week in Nigeria reviewing the progress made on the polio eradication campaign.
He said that his foundation was very impressed with President Jonathanâ€™s Agenda for National Transformation, especially the prioritization of agricultural development and commitment to exploring new ways of tapping into private sector energy to boost agricultural production.
Welcoming the new policies being pursued by the Jonathan Administration, Mr. Gates said that his foundation will explore fresh ways of helping Nigeria in the area of agricultural development.