By Amina Yahaya
Bauchi State Government has flagged off an aerial spray to curb the menace of Quelea birds and the mosquito that act as the vector for the spread of yellow fever in affected areas.
It has also planned to immunise 500,000 people in Alkaleri and Tafawa Balewa Local Government Areas, where the recent yellow fever outbreak affected some people.
Speaking at the flag off of aerial spray of Quelea birds, mosquitoes and reactive vaccination at the Sir Abubakar Tafawa Balewa International Airport Bauchi on Thursday, Governor Bala Abdulkadir Mohammed disclosed that the action is in response to the threats posed by yellow fever and Quelea birds in the State.
He added that, the exercise is part of government’s commitment towards addressing health and other challenges, especially in response to the emergency situation.
According to the Governor, the vaccination would be intensified in high risk areas of Alkaleri and Tafawa Balewa Local Government Areas. He therefore urged people living in the areas to come forward and be vaccinated.
Governor Mohammed commended traditional rulers especially the Emir of Dass, Bilyaminu Othman, regarding the outbreak of yellow fever in parts of the State.
Speaking on the menace of Quelea birds he said that the State wants to stop the annual destruction of thousands of tonnes of farm produce by the birds whenever they arrive in some parts of the State.
He also thanked the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development for providing the aircrafts to be used in spraying 38 rusty sites.
“The aircraft came at the needed time. We are leveraging on the Federal Government’s gesture to use the aircrafts to spray the areas where the vector carrying yellow fever are believed to be”, he said.
He promised to continue giving priority to health and other issues adding that, he has already declared a state of emergency in the health sector and increased health budget to 16 per cent in the 2019 Budget.
The Governor said that his administration has paid N200 million as counterpart funds to the Bill & Mellinda Gates and Dangote Foundation, UNICEF and USAID healthcare sector intervention in the State.
“Despite the state of emergency to reposition the health sector, indices such as the rates of infant and maternal mortality are worrisome. I have therefore given marching order to the Honorable Commsioner for Health to convene a health summit to enable us know the gaps”, he said.
Speaking earlier, the Executive Secretary, Bauchi State Primary Health Care Development Agency (BSPHCDA), Dr. Rilwanu Mohammed, commended the Governor for his quick response and provision of funds to curtail the yellow fever outbreak.