Melinda Gates, co-chair of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation (BMGF) and wife of Microsoft founder Bill Gates has promised increased funding for women and girl-child initiatives.
According to local news website Naij, Mrs Gates on her visit to Nigeria first met with the governor and senior public officials of Kaduna State in Nigeria’s north west region during which she assured the governor of the Gates Foundation’s commitment and interest in partnering with the Kaduna State Government to reduce infant and maternal mortality.
Gates commended the Kaduna State Government for its efforts to broaden and improve the range and credibility of data collection within the state.
“Your commitment to data collection is really admirable. You can’t make decisions without data. We are pleased to help you with that”.
Gates also congratulated the Kaduna State Government’s on its efforts at eradicating the polio virus by mounting an aggressive immunization program that is both extensive as it is intense. Gates added that the BMGF is pleased with the level of surveillance from the health authorities to ensure the success of the program.
Mrs. Gates then promised increased funding from the BMGF for sectors like agriculture, stressing that the foundation would continue to support primary health care facilities to ensure that health care delivery remains top notch.
In his response, Kaduna State governor Malam Nasir el Rufai thanked Mrs. Gates for her visit, and then requested for more assistance in areas like nutrition, child health family planning and the state’s plan for a residency identification system.
The following day, Gates later visited the Nigerian first lady Aisha Buhari at the state house Abuja. At the meeting, the two discussed developmental issues particular to women and children. Mrs Buhari thanked Mrs. Gates for the visit and praised the BMGF for its developmental efforts in Nigeria.
In her remarks, Mrs. Gates pledged her foundation’s continued support for children and maternal issues, with a focus on the rural areas. She said the BMGF is ready to partner with Mrs Buhari’s project for women and children, the ‘Future Assured Initiatives’.