Dangote, Bill Gates Billionaires partner to improve health in Africa

Gates and Dangote met in a hotel conference room in Abuja, along with other stakeholders to discuss how to stop polio in Nigeria.

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Billionaire entrepreneurs, Aliko Dangote and Bill Gates play

Billionaire entrepreneurs, Aliko Dangote and Bill Gates

(Pulse)
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Billionaires, Aliko Dangote and Bill Gates are in partnership to improve health in Africa.

Since their first meeting in 2010, both men have worked together on a range of projects to further this aim.

Gates and Dangote met in a hotel conference room in Abuja, along with other stakeholders to discuss how to stop polio in Nigeria.

They spoke of their partnership and its achievements via a joint opinion article titled “Why we are Hopeful about Improving Health in Africa.”

The article reads in part:

“This week, more than 138,000 vaccinators will fan out across five African countries in the Lake Chad area in a push to eliminate polio in Africa and rid the world of this terrible disease forever.”

“They will take boats across fast-flowing rivers, ride jeeps along sandy ravines, walk crowded street in towns and cities and navigate cramped quarters of refugee camps to ensure that every child is immunized.

“Traveling for hours a day, these dedicated women and men will visit children in homes, schools, train stations, and transit points across Nigeria, Niger, Chad, Cameroon, and the Central African Republic.

“This also marks World Immunization Week, a coordinated effort to make sure that people everywhere understand the importance of getting immunized to protect against vaccine-preventable diseases.

“Thanks to the effort of so many, Nigeria’s Borno State is now the only place in Africa today where polio is still circulating. It will take ingenuity to end polio there, and it will take persistence to continue reaching children in the surrounding area with vaccines to protect them from the disease until it is eradicated. But we’re confident it can be done. And when that happens, Africa will celebrate one of the biggest victories ever in public health.

“We supported the establishment of emergency operations centers in Nigeria and other countries to keep polio from spreading. This turned out to be a blessing during the 2014 Ebola outbreak in West Africa. When the disease first appeared in Nigeria—an international travel hub that is home to more than 180 million people—the staff of an emergency operations center set up in Lagos jumped into action and stopped the disease in its tracks. It’s almost unimaginable to think what would have happened without them.

“In the state of Kano, we are working with the government to ensure that children can get essential childhood immunizations against tetanus, pneumonia, liver cancer and measles. And when parents bring their children into a clinic for vaccinations, health workers can address other health issues, too, like nutrition, care for pregnant mothers and newborns and malaria prevention and treatment. We have since widened the program to several other states.

“Vaccines are also one of the best tools to save lives in an epidemic, such as the meningitis C outbreak happening now in Nigeria and other West African countries.

“And because of the devastating impact malnutrition has on Nigeria’s children –  leading to 300,000 deaths annually and causing stunted growth and development in millions more – we have expanded our partnership to include nutrition programs across 12 states.

“Earlier this year, we also helped launch the End Malaria Council, a group of influential public and private sector leaders committed to ensuring that malaria eradication remains a top global priority.

“Underlying all these efforts is our belief that strengthening health systems is the key to breaking the cycle of extreme poverty and disease—and kick-starting a virtuous cycle of health, productivity, and prosperity.

ALSO READ: Dangote partners with Bill Gates to donate $100 million to fight under-nutrition

“We know that strengthening health systems takes time and diligence. We are optimistic that Africa can achieve the future it aspires to. That future depends on people working together—across national borders and across socioeconomic strata—to build the better world we all want.”

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