Olanrewaju Lawal, Birnin Kebbi
The wife of Kebbi State Governor, Dr Zainab Shinkafi-Bagudu, has attributed the successful elimination of Polio from Nigeria to the effective contribution of traditional fathers.
Bagudu made this acknowledgement in Argungu at the celebration of World Polio Day 2020 at the Emirs palace, Argungu.
The paediatric consultant is happy about the wise counsel by traditional rulers in Kebbi State and other parts of the Federation, individually and collectively through the Northern Traditional Leaders Committee (NTLC).
Dr. Bagudu commended the Emir of Argungu, Alhaji Samaila Muhammdu Mera, for his role, acclaimed internationally to countering misinformation which helped to overcome boycott of the exercise.
She equally appreciated the vital role played by other government, agencies, civil societies and partners.
The wife of the governor commended her husband, governor Abubakar Atiku Bagudu for prompt release of funds and providing necessary support that made it possible to attaining 80 percent coverage of polio immunization in Kebbi State while also acknowledging the political will of President Muhammdu Buhari.
She urged parents and health workers to sustain the landmark eradication of polio in Nigeria.
On cancer, the Director of the Union for International Cancer Control (UICC), she said that 26 women die of cervical cancer daily .
“As it stands, Nigeria has the highest cancer death rate in Africa. Cervical cancer can be eliminated by a simple vaccine against the human papilloma virus- HPV.”, she counseled
Dr. Zainab Shinkafi Bagudu who was recently elected as the Director of the Union for International Cancer Control (UICC) used the occasion to announce that the country is set to commence the vaccine against the disease in 2030 sequel to the adoption of a global strategy by World Health Organization (WHO) to eliminate the cervical cancer by 2030.
She stressed the need to learn from the polio experience of ensuring adequate enlightenment campaigns in communities in order to achieve success of the exercise.
She also revealed that, her foundation, Medicaid Cancer Foundation in collaboration with Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) had been working with local and International partners to ensure the vaccination became a reality for women.
“In Yauri, Kebbi State, with funding from Jaiz Foundation, we pioneered a pilot vaccination study for 100 girls, the findings of which will be published soon in a peer review journal.
“Thus, it is my prayer that the the fight against cervical cancer using the HPV vaccine receives the same momentum that polio has received in Nigeria,” she prayed.
Earlier, the Emir of Argungu, Alhaji Samaila Muhammdu Mera, commended all those in position of authority and development partners for their support to end polio in Nigeria.
He particularly commended the commitment of Governor Bagudu for his unrelenting efforts and for giving the traditional and religious leaders opportunity to contribute in the fight to end polio in state. Disclosing that other state have since come to study the experience.
He said that,” The fight to eradicate polio is a collective one, hence the need to appreciate all for their wonderful contribution.
Mera also assured of the readiness of all traditional rulers across the state to continue to support and sustain the fight against poliomyelitis and other policies and programmes of the government.
In his remarks, Dr Razi Muktar, representative of WHO, acknowledged the role played by the traditional institution in the fight against the disease , especially the Emir of Argungu, Alhaji Samaila Mera.
Muktar assured of continued support to Kebbi State in implementing all intervention programs in order to improve its health indices, especially routine immunization.
“We shall also support the state government to deliver an integrated service delivery and strengthen primary health services,” the representative assured.
The Chief of Field office UNICEF Sokoto, Muhammadeen Fall represented by Mustapha Illo said the organization was always glad to be associated with Kebbi Government and acknowledged the strong leadership role played by governor Bagudu with traditional leaders in the elimination of Polio in the state.
” Eventually we have succeeded after 30 years of struggle and battle to end polio “, he averred.