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North east Nigeria, Chad region face acute polio vaccine shortage after fire razes multi-billion naira facility



Much of north east Nigeria, stretching into Chad, a neighboring country, may face acute shortage of polio vaccines and other medical consumables after early morning Tuesday fire burnt down the Gombe Central Medical Store, it has been gathered.

Though detailed stock taking of the damage is yet to be made public, the Gombe state governor, Muhammadu Inuwa Yahaya, believes that significant medical supplies, not only for the state but also other North East states settlements beyond the country’s borders have been wiped out.

“We need help,” cried out the governor.

According to his State Commissioner for Health, Dr. Habu Dahiru, the inferno obliterated vaccines valued at N5 billion.

This include including two million doses of polio vaccines recently received from UNICEF and Rotary International for distribution across the state’s Local Government Areas.

He added that extensive damage also routine immunization supplies, cold rooms, ultra-cold chain equipment for Pfizer Covid vaccine, maternal and child health equipment, nutritional items, family planning commodities, and special equipment for primary healthcare centers and maternity.

Gombe medical facility fire

What remains of the medical facility after the inferno.

Refrigerators, cylinders, air conditioners, and motorcycles were also among the numerous items consumed by the fire.

The over 60-year-old cold store, previously used to house COVID-19 vaccines in 2020, played a significant role as a holding place for vaccines destined for onward distribution to other Northeastern states.

The governor is not asking help from federal government alone.

Governor Yahaya is asking multilateral bodies like World Health Organisation (WHO), UNICEF and other health sector stakeholders to come to their aid.

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The Governor made the appeal after a visit to assess the damage caused by the fire which completely destroyed the facility that has played a crucial role in supporting healthcare not only in the State, but across the entire northeast subregion.

Visibly worried by the incident, Governor Inuwa expressed deep concern over the destruction which has posed a significant setback for the State as it scheduled to kick off the March-April 2024 Polio Myelitis Campaign.

During the visit to the scene of fire,  Governor Inuwa said there is need to make haste on repairs.



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