By Kemi Yesufu
Minister of Health, Prof. Isaac Adewole, on Monday announced the decision of the Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunisation (GAVI) to extend its counterpart contribution in excess of $1.9 billion, to enable Nigeria provide vaccines for its children over the next ten years.
GAVI, the Vaccine Alliance is the largest global coalition of the public and private sector with the shared goal of accelerating equal access to new and underutilised vaccines for children living in the world’s poorest countries.
In 2001, the Federal Government of Nigeria (FGoN) and GAVI entered into an agreement to strengthen immunisation system across the country.
According to the minister, GAVI’s approval of the funding envelope and the decision for extension of its transitional period from 2021 to 2028 was a testimony to the commitment of the Buhari administration in enshrining accountability and transparency in all governments’ dealings especially with donor agencies.
He said: “It is with great pleasure that I inform you that on Wednesday, June 6 2018, the GAVI Board meeting in Geneva, Switzerland, approved Nigeria’s proposal for GAVI transition, the ‘Nigeria Strategy for Routine Immunization and Primary Health Care Systems’ Strengthening (NSIPSS).
“This investment, worth over $2.7 billion of which GAVI has committed $1.03 billion while the Federal Government counterpart contribution is in excess of $1.9 billion, will enable Nigeria provide vaccines for its children over the next ten years (2018-2028).
“Making it the largest singular investment of any kind in the health sector since the history of the Primary Health Care System in Nigeria and heralds a new path to improving the health of Nigerians”.
Speaking to the press after the minister’s announcement, Executive-Director of the National Primary Healthcare Development Agency (NPHCDA), Dr. Faisal Shuiab, assured that his agency will ensure that expectations of all stakeholders are met with regard to implementing the strategy for routine Immunisation and primary health care system.
“Never before has the global community come together, reviewed the plans that Nigeria has for primary healthcare and given a seal of approval-that says, yes, this plan right here fulfils all the requirements for a strong and sustainable primary healthcare system.
“So we are all excited in the Federal Ministry of Health and the National Primary Health Care Development Agency, working with our development partners”.
Shuaib further gave assurances, that the NPHCDA recognised the latest approval from GAVI as a major opportunity to significantly improve on the country’s health indices.
“The premise for this approval is hinged on the confidence that the global community has in the current administration, and particularly in what the Fedeal Ministry of Health and the National Primary Healthcare Development Agency is doing with primary healthcare in partnership with our partners and donors.
“It is very clear that we have set the building blocks for a very strong primary healthcare system. The global community has looked at it and said, yes, this is a sustainable plan that can deliver on primary healthcare”, he added.
Also speaking to the media, Country Director of International Vaccine Access Centre (IVAC), Dr. Chizoba Wonodi, stressed the need for transparency on the part of the Nigerian government.
Wonodi, a member of the steering committee of the GAVI, CSOs platform, said the Nigerian government must maintain a high level of transparency all through the years of implementation of the strategy, in order to record good outcomes and improve donor confidence.
“There is going to be an accountability framework which will be an essential part of the process.
“Every year GAVI and other partners will review the progress made with immunisation and this is where the press comes in. With the accountability framework, we need to demonstrate that we are meeting all of our commitments”, she said.
She explained that the North_East and North-West zones as well as some states in the south will be the leading beneficiaries of the latest round of investment into immunisation.
“It’s basically about routine immunisation and there are some priority states, like those that are doing poorly. And these are primarily states in the North-East and North-West and some others in the south.
“But this intervention will be based on needs, that is, states that are not doing well”, Wonodi said.