Nigeria, global partners strategise to boost immunisation coverage

Gloria Essien, Abuja


Nigeria and its global partners are holding a three-day workshop to strategise and strengthen immunisation coverage in the country.

The workshop which is scheduled to hold in Abuja, Nigeria’s Capital will focus on Nigeria’s Strategy For Immunisation and PHC System Strengthening.

The Executive Director of the National Primary Healthcare Development Agency, Dr. Faisal Shuaib, said that Nigerians deserve the best in healthcare.

He noted that Nigeria enjoys a lot of financial support from donor agencies across the globe especially in the area of curbing polio and other child killer diseases.

“We are confident and hopeful that the deliberation over the next few days will take us forward, please have the assurances of the partnership in continuing to provide our support to ensure better health for the children and people of Nigeria,” Dr. Shuaib said.

He also noted that what Nigeria needs at this time is the strengthening of institutions so that in the future Nigerians would be happy with what has been done.

“In all we do, what should be at the back of our minds is how we are going to strengthen institutions that ensures that people that come after us will continue with the good work that we have set in place. It has never been because there were no ideas that we’re where we are, it is because we have been able to put in place a system that will stand the test of time, which are the accountabilities that are going to be putting in place to ensure that things are really different because that is what this NSIPSS document is about, to catalyze a different model of working in reform with the Nigerian Space. Yes! We have seen reforms before, this is not the first time we have talked about reforms” the Executive Director added.

Common Threats
He noted that Nigeria and her partners are used to pooling their resources together to defeat common threats.

Dr. Shuaib also appreciated the Global Alliance for Vaccines, GAVI, for extending its investment in Nigeria and a fresh donation of $100bn for the next 10 years.

He said “In all the work that we do, we’re trying to establish a primary health care system in Nigeria, where all Nigerians will go to and they will be treated with respect and dignity, we will not rest, we will not tire, we will not give up, at the NPHCDA and the partnership until we get it right. We have to do something radically different. Let’s hold each other accountable”

Positive Feedback
While speaking on behalf of the partners, Dr. Fiona Braka of the World Health Organisation says that donor agencies were happy with the progress Nigeria is making.

“On behalf of the partners, we want to note that we are pleased to be part of this important process, a platform to develop a two year operational plan of the national strategy for immunisation and primary health care system strengthening. The bold approval of this strategy was an important step and we are pleased with that decision,” she said.

The Global Alliance for Vaccines is Nigeria’s greatest vaccine donor.

The Managing Director of alliance, Dr. Hind Othman Khati called for more transparency in the management of resources.

She said that GAVI and Nigeria need to work together for a sustainable investment.

“And how do we make sure we have the right people on board to be able to manage the program  for a country as big as Nigeria and for us to always be able to account in transparent manner in funding that is coming from donors and other people and also domestic resources. So that is something I would really like to underline, that we have to work jointly together” Dr. Khati said.

The representative of Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation VIO Michelle, said that the decision to invest in Nigeria means that other countries are deprived.

She also called on all hands to be on deck to tackle polio. “With immunisation, it’s always been a shared concern and a shared responsibility and that means everybody in this room has a role to play and partnership is at the core of the what’s going to make a difference in immunization and I think you’ve really brought that here and you’ve got partnership and political commitment and leadership, those are really key ingredients”.

The Niger State commissioner for health, Dr. Mustapha Jibril who spoke on behalf of state commissioners for health stated that routine immunisation in Nigeria is low and that the Government needed to improve on it.

According to the chairman of the Board Of Trustees of Gavi/CSO, Dr. Ben Anyene, states need to take ownership of immunization for the good of Nigerian children.

He said “We need to expand this physical space in this country so that immunisation should be given a top priority in this country”.

The Chairman of the governing board of the National Primary Healthcare Development Agency, Mr. Attahiru Aliero, appreciated the commitment of partners and urged state governments to compliment what the federal government is doing.

“Whatever is done in Abuja if not properly complimented by the states amounts to nothing,” he said.

Government, partners and donors agree that immunisation needs to be prioritised for a healthy Nigerian future.

Development partners at the workshop pledged to continue to support Nigeria in providing vaccines that would eliminate polio and other child killer diseases.

The workshop would also draw up a two year operational plan development for 2019-2020.