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Bill Gates commends Kebbi Government on polio eradication

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Foremost philanthropist Bill Gates has commended the efforts of Kebbi Government in its sustained fight against polio.

The philanthropist is in Nigeria to further enlist the support of traditional rulers towards polio eradication.

Gates,who arrived in the state in the company of the Minister of Health Dr Ali Pate, made the commendation when he visited the Governor of Birnin Kebbi, Alhaji Saidu Dakingari.

He noted that involvement of traditional rulers in the fight against the spread of the disease and extensive awareness campaigns by stakeholders were responsible for the drastic reduction in the prevalence rate polio cases in the state.

He noted that only one case of the virus was recorded in 2010, as he pledged continuous assistance towards polio eradication.

He explained that India with an estimated population of about 1.1 billion, and which was rated the highest in polio cases, recorded only one case in 2010.

``We would declare India a polio-free country in January next year,'' he said.

Responding, Dakingari said the few cases of polio recorded this year in Nigeria was due to a relapse by government and the stakeholders due to political campaigns and the general elections.

He pledged government's continuous support in the fight to eradicate the disease.

NAN reports that Gates is expected to hold a stakeholders' meeting on the new strategies to eradicate polio and also interact with victims of polio and their parents.