President Muhammadu Buhari has urged the Rotary International to support Nigeria’s coronavirus emergency response, particularly in its vaccination drive to sustain gain recorded against the deadly virus.
He said through the global club’s support and timely intervention, the country would be able to vaccinate her eligible citizens against the disease that has wrecked havoc across the world and disrupted global economies which had resulted in hardship.
Aside from the request, Buhari also stated that the Federal Government would continue drawing from the expertise, partnership and consistency learnt from the eradication of Polio in the country to strengthen the health sector.
The president, who received Rotary International President, Shekhar Mehta, and some officials, at the State House on Monday, thanked the organization for various interventions in the health sector, particularly putting in $268 million in the fight against Polio.
“Nigeria has benefitted from your kind support, most particularly in the fight against Polio, with a total sum of $268 million provided by Rotary International. For this, I say thank you.
“In addition to support provided by Rotary International in Polio Eradication, I am also well apprised of your other health interventions focused at improving maternal, newborn and child health, infrastructural renewal of health facilities, data management to improve evidence-based decision making, and the area of improving quality of care for patients,’’ he said.
The President noted that the support Nigeria had received from multilateral and bilateral partners, including Rotary International for Sustainable Development Goals and Universal Health Coverage had been invaluable.
On the award president to him by the Rotary International, Buhari said, “I also heartily welcome and receive the award you have given in recognition of the efforts of the administration, in collaboration with our partners, leading to the certification of Nigeria, and the entire continent as being polio-free.’’
The president welcomed the Club’s offer of partnership with Nigeria in effective Coronavirus vaccine management and service delivery. In his remarks, the Minister of Health, Dr Osagie Ehanire, commended Rotary International for supporting health care programmes and improving facilities in the country.
Earlier, Mehta said that the historic achievement of eradicating Polio in Nigeria was made possible by the leadership of President Buhari, while highlighting the President’s foresight and diligence in taming spread of the Covid-19 pandemic.
“Mr President, thank you profusely for ensuring that Nigeria became polio free. It has been possible only because of your leadership,’’ he said.
Mehta said that the charity organization currently had 1.2 million members in 200 countries, emphasizing that the focus of the year 2021 is on empowering girls by ensuring better health, hygiene and nutrition.
The Rotary International president also said the Covid-19 threw up economic and educational challenges, assuring that the organization would continue to support Nigeria in education, including surrogate teaching, and environmental issues.