U.S. Ambassador to Nigeria James Entwistle was present at the Memorandum of Understanding Signing Ceremony in Kaduna, Nigeria, in late January, for Routine Immunization in Borno, Kaduna, Sokoto, and Bauchi states.
“I am proud that the U.S. government is joining the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and the Dangote Foundation in the strong pursuit to end vaccine-preventable child deaths in Nigeria,” said Ambassador Entwistle. “Under this partnership, we are helping Sokoto State to increase and sustain high immunization coverage. This occasion demonstrates the willingness and commitment of your governments and organizations to tackle the challenges to achieving these goals.”
The United States provides significant resources, more than half a billion dollars annually, for programs to address serious health issues, such as child mortality, maternal and newborn health, HIV/AIDS, malaria, and tuberculosis.
“These MOUs offer the model platform to capitalize on the prospects of evidence-based approaches,” said Ambassador Entwistle. “Results will include stronger systems for immunizations, equal access to routine immunization services, and building capacity for Nigerian states like Sokoto to lead in developing solutions for its people.”
Perhaps even more importantly, these agreements serve as a model on which to base future partnerships between development partners and the Government of Nigeria.
“Ensuring transparency and accountability in the implementation of this program, demonstrates the pledge of the Governments of all the states involved to ensuring they meet their responsibilities to their constituents. Essential health services, like routine immunization programs, can only be provided when all partners are coordinated and committed in this manner.”
Immunization represents one of the most cost-effective public health interventions. Routine immunization services, when sustained, reduce maternal and child illnesses and deaths and free up other resources for economic development.
Under this partnership, the U.S. Government will maintain its focus on Sokoto State, offering quality technical assistance in support of the partners’ harmonized work plan in that state.
“Our ultimate goal,” said Ambassador Entwistle, “is to end preventable child and maternal deaths and to achieve an AIDS-free generation.”