The President of the Republic of Niger, Mohamed Bazoum has conferred that country’s Commander of the Order of Merit of Niger, a national Honour, on the President/Chief Executive of Dangote Industries Limited, Aliko Dangote.
According to the certificate of conferment that was presented today, August 3, to Dangote in Niamey, the nation’s capital, the award was in appreciation of his services rendered to the Republic of Niger and as well as a tribute to his business acumen and philanthropy.
The national award is also in recognition of the various health-related interventions by the Aliko Dangote Foundation, including financial support to the tune of $500,000 to help fight a previous Meningitis outbreak and another cholera outbreak; NGN250 million for the provision of food for refugees and displaced persons; and $1,000,000 (one million dollars) support for enhanced routine immunisation in the three identified regions of Diffa, Maradi and Zinder.
The national award came amidst the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) by Aliko Dangote Foundation, alongside the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation (BMGF) and GAVI the Vaccine Alliance with the government of the Republic of Niger on a collaboration for improving the Expanded Programme on Immunisation in Diffa, Maradi and Zinder regions, which are along the country’s southern border with Nigeria.
Aliko Dangote Foundation and BMGF had played key roles in a historic certification by the World Health Organisation of a polio-free Nigeria and Africa in August 2020. The same successful template which was applied to ensure eradication of polio in northern Nigeria in partnership with six states namely Bauchi, Borno, Kaduna, Kano, Sokoto and Yobe, is also being applied by ADF to enhance routine immunisation and adequate vaccination around Nigeria’s borders with the Republics of Niger and Chad.
The three regions of Diffa, Maradi and Zinder share a common border with Northern Nigeria and together make up almost 28% of Niger’s land area and about 40% of the country’s population.
Speaking on the MoU partnership, the Managing Director of Aliko Dangote Foundation stated that “ADF is committing $1 million over 3 years; BMGF are providing $2 million, while GAVI is bringing in $10 million worth of vaccines under this MoU. ADF and BMGF are bringing in the money required to stimulate demand for the vaccines that GAVI is bringing in to ensure maximum uptake and coverage.”
The Foundations are committed to providing technical and financial support to the Government of Niger to strengthen its vaccine programmes gradually and sustainably improve its coverage in the Diffa, Maradi and Zinder regions in order to prevent vaccine-preventable diseases.
Gavi, according to the MoU, will continue its support for immunisation in the selected priority districts in the three regions, in accordance with the agreement already signed with the Government of Niger, the strategic objectives of the Health System Strengthening Project (HSS3) grant and the approved financing.
In order to protect the target populations against poliomyelitis and other vaccine-preventable diseases, the government of Niger is committed to strengthening the routine vaccine programme and to reduce morbidity and mortality in the regions of Diffa, Maradi and Zinder.
The objective of the MoU is to collaborate on strengthening vaccination in Niger to improve the delivery of routine vaccine services in the three regions in order to achieve full vaccination coverage of 90% of the target population by December 2024; to ensure that at least 90% of districts achieve 90% Penta 3 vaccination coverage; to vaccinate 90% of the zero doses identified; to stop poliovirus transmission and maintain polio-free status; and to ensure consistent national funding and procurement of vaccines in order to secure a sustained and steady supply of all routine vaccines throughout the country.