Borno, 31 January, 2024 – In a significant development aimed at tackling the pressing public health challenges in northeast Nigeria, the World Health Organization (WHO) has reaffirmed its commitment to align with the government’s vision to provide comprehensive health intervention to the vulnerable population in the region.
The states in the northeast are Adamawa, Bauchi, Borno, Gombe, Taraba and Yobe.
Delivering his goodwill message at the inaugural meeting of the Northeast Commissioners of Health forum in Borno State, the WHO Country Representative, Dr Walter Kazadi Mulombo, commended the efforts embarked upon by the Federal Government, the northeast governors, and the health commissioners in addressing the health challenges in the region.
Dr Mulombo said this inaugural meeting is a sign of commitment by the Northeastern Governors to achieving primary healthcare systems as the fairest, most affordable way to meet the health challenges we face today
“WHO and its partners will continue to build on the successes recorded in eradicating the Wild Polio Virus (WPV) in the country, and are ready to support the northeast states achieve its visions of ensuring that the vulnerable population get access to quality health services”, said Dr Mulombo.
In his remark, the Coordinating Minister Of Health and Social Welfare, Professor Muhammad Pate, inaugurating the northeast commissioners of health forum, said the initiative is in line with the vision of this current administration’s health agenda to provide health for all Nigerians irrespective of their location.
Professor Pate, represented by the Executive Director, National Primary Health Care Development Agency (NPHCDA), Dr Muyi Aina, said “We will continue to leverage the strategic visions for the health sector. This vision encapsulates effective Governance, Efficient and Equitable Health Systems, Transparency and Accountability, and Health Security.
The northeast government needs to continuously coordinate the overall health response and partners to support the states. They also invest in well-incentivized primary and secondary healthcare facilities to ensure quality health services so that no one is left behind.
Declaring the meeting open, the Governor of Borno State, Professor Babagana Umara Zulum, said the collaboration is a giant and bold step towards addressing the challenge in the region.
Professor Zulum appreciated the contributions and support of the WHO and other partners in championing Universal health care coverage in the area by ensuring quality health services reach the vulnerable population.
Over a decade, three states of the six states – Borno, Adamawa and Yobe (BAY states) have faced significant hardships, including conflict, displacement, and limited access to healthcare services, exacerbating the already fragile health infrastructure.
The Northeast Inaugural meeting for the Commissioners of Health, the first of its kind in the region aims to advance the health and well-being of the population in the region, focusing on improving Health service delivery, human resources for health, and reducing maternal and neonatal mortality rates, towards accelerating progress on Universal Health Coverage (UHC).
The theme of the 2-day meeting was “Addressing Key Health Challenges Affecting the Northeastern States of Nigeria”.
Present at the meeting were the six (6) Health Commissioners in the northeast, WHO and other partners (United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and donor agencies (United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and Norway).