NGO launches vaccination campaign with traditional leaders – The Sun Nigeria


An NGO, the Chigari Foundation, in collaboration with others, has launched a grassroots vaccination campaign through traditional leaders, with the aim of ending deadly diseases in Nigeria.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that other NGOs included representatives from the World Health Organization (WHO), the Solina Foundation and the Sultan Foundation.

Speaking when he led the NGOs to Abdullahi Fodio Palace in Birnin Kebbi and Emir of Argungu Palace in Argungu, the Executive Chairman of the Chigari Foundation, Prof. Muhammad Ali-Pate said that the the essence of involving traditional leaders in the exercise was to pave the way for greater success.

Ali-Pate, former minister of state for health, said they were at the two palaces to ask for the royal blessing and reinforce what traditional rulers were doing to ensure a healthy society.

He said: “The visit is about the issue of development and health incentives. With your support, we were able to end wild polio virus in Nigeria and it is in this line that we want you to come back and educate our people on the need to end all killer diseases in Nigeria.

“The government is doing its part and as traditional leaders you have an important role to play in ensuring the eradication of these preventable diseases because you are closer to the people and as traditional leaders you can advise, instruct and direct your subjects to the problems”.

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The former minister said on development issues that people’s leaders must engage in order to achieve significant successes.

He recalled that 14 years ago, the wild polio virus was unleashed in about 27 states in Nigeria, adding that it was a major crisis that reached the World Health Assembly.

He however said that the traditional rulers of Northern Nigeria, through the Sultan of Sokoto, granted them a grace of listening and engaging with them which resulted in huge success.

“Thank goodness these efforts provided a breakthrough opportunity that ultimately resulted in the elimination of the polio virus.

“This lesson reverberates not just in Nigeria but across the continent and beyond and not just for now but for posterity.

“Because we came together, government, traditional and religious institutions worked for a common purpose and defeated a disease and many others like it.

“Different types of insecurities have remained with us, the physical insecurities that are visible that everyone is talking about, we pray that Almighty God will make it easy for us.

“But there are other forms of insecurity, people would say food insecurity but there is also health insecurity and we have seen at least for the richest countries a virus which started in health which destroyed their economy.

“Therefore, health security is so important for economic security, national security and political security,” he said.

Ali-Pate observed that despite the roles that traditional institutions used to play, the NGO felt it needed to reinvigorate its efforts to play such roles again.

“Considering the fact that we were successful the other time because we listened to you, that’s why we think we need to re-energize you again.”

Responding separately, the Emirs of Gwandu, Alhaji Muhammadu Iliyasu-Bashar and that of Argungu, Alhaji Sama’ila Muhammadu-Mera, assured the NGO of their readiness to support the foundation in achieving its aims and objectives.

Traditional rulers observed that there was no organization or institution that had a structure like traditional institutions, lamenting that chiefs resorted to them only when it came to politics.

While describing the visit as a very brilliant engagement, the traditional leaders said they were ready to support all sectors of the economy, especially health and education.

They called on the government to use simple incentives like soap, milk, etc. to entice people to attend vaccination and other health programs.

They advised people to repent and ask Almighty God for forgiveness so that he can intervene in the current persistent security issues.

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