Benue to access $3million counterpart fund for immunization – Ortom

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Benue state government is to access a $3million counterpart fund for immunization programmes in the state.

Governor Samuel Ortom disclosed this on Friday while flagging off the Polio Outbreak Response Vaccination Campaign in Makurdi said his government had already paid the sum of $100,000 counterpart fund to access the fund.

Represented by the Commissioner for Health and Human Services, Dr. Joseph Ngbea, the Governor commended partners like the UNICEF, WHO, NPHCDA, Hellen Keller International and others who supported the state to attain polio free status since 2009.

While expressing joy that resources committed to polio eradication in the state was yielding positive results, the Governor said, “the state government is taking most of the programmes of primary healthcare very seriously to actualize the eradication of polio virus and childhood killer diseases in the state.

“We have already inaugurated a task-force on immunization and have also gone ahead to pay the counterpart fund of $100,000 so that we can access $3million for immunization.

“That was done just last week and we are going to do more when it comes to counterpart fund because its importance cannot be over emphasized and government ensures it is paid as and when due so that we access additional funds for activities in the sector.”

The Governor who urged parents to ensure that children under five years were vaccinated in the round of immunization and there were no rejections said the government was putting modalities in place to recruit needed personnel in Benue’s health sector.

Earlier, the Executive Secretary, Benue State Primary Health Care Board, SPHCB, Dr. Bem Ageda commended Governor Ortom for the huge resources committed to ensuring the functionality of the Board to deliver on its mandate despite dwindling resources.

“The SPHCB is effectively collaborating with National Primary Health Care Development Agency, NPHCDA, UNICEF, WHO, and other Partner Agencies for the execution of programmes that will improve the performance indices of the Health related Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) especially the reduction of Maternal and Child Mortality rates.

“It may interest you to know that Benue State has not recorded a case of Wild Polio Virus in the past 12 years. This is because, the Government of Benue State and Partners have continuously supported this programme,” he said.

On his part, the Tor Tiv, HRM Prof. James Ayatse who was represented by the Ter Gwer, Chief Dominic Akpe urged traditional rulers in the state to lead the campaign to ensure mass vaccination in their various communities.

In his speech, the Executive Director of the NPHCDA, Dr. Faisal Shuaib who was represented by the Benue State Coordinator, Shola Abdulrazak, commended the state for the success recorded in its immunization programmes.

He encouraged parents to ensure that their children received all available vaccines to prevent childhood killer diseases saying “we must find a way of reaching even the unreachable child.”

On his part, the Benue state Coordinator of WHO, Dr. Ahemen Terseer assured that the global body would continue to support all activities aimed at ensuring good health for children and vulnerable persons.

“And because of the mutant form of polio virus which is very much with us, we must ensure that every child under five years is given the immunization. Parents and traditional rulers must ensure children are reached. If because of insecurity any place is not reached, please alert us to reach those places,” he added.