The Niger Government on Tuesday in Minna signed N1.2 billion Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation to improve healthcare delivery in the state.
The News Agency of Nigeria, NAN, reports that Governor Abubakar Bello of Niger signed on behalf of the state while Chris Elias, President of Global Development, Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, signed for the foundation.
Mr. Bello, who decried the neglect of the health sector in the past years, said that the MoU would help strengthen the primary healthcare and reduce pressure on the secondary health sector.
“Having functional healthcare in each ward will reduce pressure on the secondary sector and bring healthcare services closer to the people.
“It has been observed that failure to provide quality healthcare system in the past had led to all manners of clinics and hospitals, especially in the rural areas,” he said.
He directed the state Ministry of Health to set up a team that would monitor and arrest illegal health workers in such areas to reduce quackery in the state.
The governor commended the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation for its support to ensure effective healthcare service delivery to the people.
Earlier, Elias said that the foundation would continue to partner the state on health and agriculture sectors.
He said that the MoU would strengthen the health system by providing the needed facilities in the state.
Similarly, Mustapha Jibrin, the state Commissioner for Health, disclosed that the MoU was a four-year agreement to strengthen data generation quality and other investment in the health sector.
He disclosed that through the MoU, 2,500 health workers would be employed and trained to work in various health facilities within the communities.
According to him, the state government and the foundation will contribute 50 per cent each to ensure sustainability of the MoU in the first few years.