The Federal Ministry of Health, yesterday, hosted a high-level expanded meeting of delegates from GAVI Alliance and members of the Immunization Coordinating Committee (ICC), in Abuja.
Speaking at the meeting, the Honourable Minister of Health, Dr. Osagie
Ehanire said that Nigerian Government recognises immunization as a highly cost-effective way of reducing child mortality and GAVI partnership as critical to scaling up coverage to more than 80% by 2028 to improve health indices and achieve Sustainable Development Goals (SDG). ‘’These targets may seem ambitious but are achievable working with partners, including GAVI’
According to the Minister, immunization and strengthening Primary healthcare have been prioritised through the establishment of the National Emergency Routine Immunization Coordinating Committee (NERICC) with focus on 18 low-performing States and their Local governments by the National Primary Health Care Development Agency (NPHCDA) in the past few years. This, he explained, was to serve as a platform for timely resolution of routine immunization (RI) gaps and execution of innovative support strategies.
Ehanire informed that similarly, NERICC support has recently been extended even to medium and high performing States to ensure country-wide gains are sustained.
The Minister disclosed that immunization coverage, measured by Penta 3 coverage increased across the country for the first time in many years with some of the largest gains achieved in northern States. ‘’Though coverage is still unacceptably low in few States, we are pleased with documented increases and positive trend in coverage in most States” he hinted.
He noted that Nigeria is beginning to record increase in demand and improvements in access to immunization services in communities. ‘’The engagement of traditional, religious and community leaders to drive demand for immunization and Primary Health Care(PHC) services is yielding results in increased confidence in and patronage of the Primary care system.’’
Ehanire added that the high turnout of eligible children recorded at the introduction of MenA and Measles 2nd dose vaccine as well as the on-going integrated Measles and MenA campaigns is indicative of a positive trajectory in immunization uptake.
He mentioned that all funds budgeted for vaccine procurement in 2019 has been paid to NPHCDA and will be transferred to United Nations Children Emergency Fund (UNICEF) shortly, while assuring GAVI delegation of Nigeria’s commitment to meeting her obligations.
The Minister assured that discussions between the Federal Ministries of Health, Finance, Budget and National Planning, NPHCDA and the Gates Foundation on additional funding support of $75m over the next 5 years is one of the options that could be applied for vaccines financing in line with NSIPSS implementation plan.
Dignitaries at the meeting include: the Honourable Minister of State for Health, Dr. Olorunnimbe Mamora, Former Minister of State for Health, Dr. Ali Pate(currently, Global Director, World Bank), Executive Director, NPHCDA, Dr. Faisal Shuaib, Officer –in-Charge, WHO, Dr. Clement Peter, the CEO, GAVI Alliance, Dr. Seth Berkley, amongst others.
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