The Niger State Government and a US-based Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation Tuesday in Minna signed a N1.2 billion Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to improve health-care delivery in the state.
News Agency of Nigeria reported that Governor Abubakar Bello of Niger signed for the state while Chris Elias, President of Global Development, Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, signed for the foundation.
Bello, who decried the neglect of the health sector in the past years, said that the MoU would help strengthen the primary health-care 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.
The governor 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.
Bello commended the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation for its support to ensure effective healthcare delivery service to the people.
Earlier, Elias had said that the foundation would continue to partner the state on health and agricultural sectors, noting that the MoU would strengthen the health system by providing the needed facilities in the state.
Also speaking, Mustapha Jibrin, the state Commissioner for Health, said the MoU was a four-year agreement to strengthen data generation quality and other investment in the health sector, explaining that the state government and the foundation would contribute 50 per cent each to ensure sustainability of the MoU in the first few years.
The MoU, according to Jibrin, would employ 2,500 health workers and train them to work in various health facilities within the communities.