By Ndidi Chukwu
In an effort to improve coverage and financing for Routine Immunization, the National Primary Health Care Development Agency (NPHCDA) has inaugurated National Emergency Routine Immunization Center (NERIC) strategic team.
NPHCDA Executive Director, Dr Faisal Shuaib, who inaugurated the members on Tuesday, said NERIC will coordinate all governments and partners within the Routine Immunization landscape and improve oversight to ensure accountability at all levels of implementation.
He noted that the centre was established following the increase in number of unimmunized children and the outbreak of vaccine-preventable diseases in the country.
“After this inauguration, the team that will be based here will now look at the data and isolate where we have largest problem. We cannot manage all the problems at the same across the 36 states. There are states that have been doing quite well as regards routine immunization,” Dr Shuaib said.
He also added that the centre is being established at the NPHCDA to provide oversight standards for Routine Immunization, “but we are replicating this same structure at the states and local governments.”
Our correspondent report that Nigeria’s fast growing advocacy Civil Society Organization (CSO), Community Health and Research Initiative (CHR) was among the CSOs inaugurated.
“NERIC is a good initiative of the NPHCDA and we are optimistic that it will go a long way in improving Routine Immunization services as well as sustain the gains we have achieved so far.
“CHR has been a strategic partner of the NPHCDA and our nomination to become a member of NERIC provides the enabling environment to share knowledge on use of evidenced based scorecards for accountability and advocacy,” Dr Aminu Magashi Garba, CHR Chair Board of Trustees said.
Dr Magashi also added that CHR will use the platform to advocate to the Nigerian Government through the NPHCDA for full implementation of the Addis Declaration on Immunization (ADI).
CHR’s involvement is following an invitation letter signed by the Executive Director, to participate as a member of the NERIC based on its strength in Routine Immunization advocacy.
Part of the letter reads: “I wish to appreciate the support of your organization towards improving Routine Immunization service delivery in the country. The agency and partners agreed to facilitate the desired turn around in the RI indicators, a National emergency coordinating body for Routine Immunization is necessary to provide leadership and fast track implementation of quick wins and long term RI interventions within the country.”
The Committee met briefly after the inauguration and will hold its first meeting today (Wednesday) July 5. CHR is represented by its Chair Board of Trustee, Dr Aminu Magashi and Programme Officer, Diana Edema-Sillo as strategic and operational members.