Bill Gates has paid a visit to Kaduna, Nigeria. The Billionaire who’s also the co-founder of Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation is currently in Nigeria to sign a Memorandum Of Understanding (MOU) with the Nigerian Billionaire, Aliko Dangote’s Foundation On Routine Immunization.
Bill Gates is an American known as the world’s richest man is the co-founder of Microsoft which became the world’s largest PC software company. The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation (BMGF) is the largest private foundation in the world, founded by Bill and Melinda Gates. It was launched in 2000 and is said to be the largest transparently operated private foundation in the world. It is a grant-making foundation which supports initiatives in Education, World Health and Population, and community giving in the Pacific Northwest.
Bill Gates was received by Kaduna State governor, Nasir El Rufai and Sokoto state governor, Aminu Tambuwal among others. His visit is to learn more about national immunization efforts and the country’s strategy to stop polio, a disease that still inflicts severe disability on Nigerian children.
Gates visit to Nigeria was probably necessitated by the recent visit of Dangote to Seattle, Washinton, USA to attend the “AT THE HEART” programme where the two philanthropist discussed their foundations’ joint effort to improve the livelihood of the world’s most vulnerable populations.
During a press conference in Abuja, Bill Gates commended the renewed resolve he saw firsthand, and expressed optimism that leaders at all levels of the country will help create a movement to protect Nigerian children from polio and other vaccine preventable diseases.
While in Nigeria, Bill Gates also observed first hand, the efforts of vaccination teams during a nationwide immunization. In Northern Nigeria, where the polio virus continues to circulate, he met with government officials, and traditional and religious leaders. He also met with mothers, traditional birth attendants, and representatives of a Muslim women’s association to discuss their personal experiences with immunization and ideas for achieving polio eradication.
The Bill Gates Foundation also finalized a $25 million agreement with the World Bank to support the purchase of more than 100 million doses of oral polio vaccine (OPV) in Nigeria. The agreement stipulates the Bill Gates Foundation will “buy down” a World Bank loan to the Nigerian government to support polio eradication efforts. Relief of the loan is triggered when Nigeria achieves certain polio program milestones within the next three years, such as attaining 80 percent vaccine coverage in each state. Rotary International and the UN Foundation have also used this innovative financing mechanism for vaccine purchase in Nigeria.