By Asma’u Ahmad
The Federal Government and Global Vaccine Alliance (GAVI) have committed $2.7 billion to strengthen routine immunisation programmes and boost Primary Health Care (PHC) services in Nigeria over 10 years (2018-2028).
The Minister of Health, Professor Isaac Adewole, made this known while briefing newsmen in Abuja on Monday.The minister said GAVI Board meeting in Geneva, Switzerland, on June 6 , approved Nigeria’s proposal for GAVI transition, `the Nigeria Strategy for Routine Immunisation and Primary Health Care Systems’ Strengthening’ (NSIPSS).
He explained that NSIPSS was an investment, worth over $2.7billion of which GAVI had committed $1.03 billion while the federal government counterpart contribution was in excess of $1.9billion. Adewole added that the investment would enable Nigeria provide vaccines for its children over the next 10 years.
“Following the rebasing of the economy, Nigeria rose above the threshold of support for GAVI eligible countries and entered into an accelerated transition from GAVI support. “This implied that Nigeria will have to progressively increase funding for its immunisation programme and the co-financing of vaccines until Nigeria transits completely in 2021 out of GAVI support,’’ he said.
He said that Nigeria had sought an extension of GAVI support from 2021 to 2028 due to poor macroeconomic indices, tight fiscal space, further reduction in funding for Polio related activities and very low immunisation coverage.
Adewole said GAVI’s approval of the funding envelope and the decision for extension of transitional period from 2021 to 2028 was a testament of President Muhammadu Buhari’s commitment on accountability and transparency. The minister said with the approval Nigeria stands to save lives of additional 1,539,651 children under one year by 2028 by driving immunisation rates up to 85 per cent in all states.
Executive Director, National Primary Health Care Development Agency (NPHCDA), Dr Faisal Shua’ib, said the GAVI board took an unprecedented step to approve support to Nigeria. He added that NPHCDA had developed a document which clearly articulated in a comprehensive manner all the things that were essential to fix the PHC system in the country.
Dr Shua’ib said the global community reviewed the document and agreed with the agency that the aspirations and hopes in the document are realisable and declare that they would support the agency to achieve the goals over 10 years. The executive director noted that there was paucity of funds in the health sector especially the PHC sector over the past few years.
He added the approval would inject funds into the primary healthcare industry that would ensure that PHC centres get adequate infrastructure for diagnosis, adequate drugs and better human resources. Shuaib said the fund from government could rapidly improve services at PHCs in communities where a basic healthcare service had hitherto been deficient.