President/Chief Executive of Dangote Industries Limited, Aliko Dangote has been conferred with the Commander of the Order of Merit of Niger award by the President of the Republic of Niger, Mohamed Bazoum in Niamey.
According to the certificate of conferment presented to Dangote in Niamey, the nation’s capital, the award was in appreciation for his services rendered to the Republic of Niger and as well as a tribute to his business acumen and philanthropy. This was disclosed in a statement.
The Aliko Dangote Foundation (ADF) had intervened in various ways to improve healthcare and routine immunisation in Niger Republic and her neighbouring countries namely Nigeria and Chad. Aliko Dangote had earlier been conferred with the Commander of the National Order of Valour of the Republic of Cameroon, and the Grand Commander of the National Order of the Republic of Benin.
In a related development, Aliko Dangote Foundation, alongside the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation (BMGF) and GAVI the Vaccine Alliance have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) 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.
The Nigerien national award by the president was 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.
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 per cent of Niger’s land area and about 40 per cent of the country’s population.
Speaking on the MoU partnership, which was signed in May 2022, 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 MoU was signed between the Government of the Republic of Niger represented by the Ministry of Public Health, the Population and Social Affairs, the Ministry of Interior & Decentralisation and the Ministry of Finance on the one hand, and the Incorporated Trustees of Aliko Dangote Foundation (ADF) and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation (BMGF), two independent endowed charities and GAVI, the Vaccine Alliance, a Global Public-Private Partnership on the other hand.
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, would 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.