By Iyemah David
The Federal Government of Nigeria has begun construction of three mega stores to fast-track establishment of vaccine hubs in the country.
The Minister of Health, Dr Osagie Ehanire said this at the ground breaking ceremony of the 3-Hub project on Thursday in Abuja.
He said the hub in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) is one of the three mega stores planned for vaccine storage capacity at the national level in the country.
“Nigeria is a large country and continuously increasing population coupled with the introduction of new and essential vaccines.
“This requires that we have sufficient storage space for vaccines and injection materials for efficient implementation of our immunisation programme,” he said.
According to Ehanire, each of the hubs is centralised to serve two geopolitical locations and decentralised to timely respond to increasing vaccine demands.
He said the FCT and Kano hubs were being funded by the Global Alliance for Vaccine initiative (GAVI), while the Lagos hub would be funded through a World Bank loan.
“The ground-breaking ceremony is a significant milestone of the system redesign journey. The hub project is in two states and the FCT,” he said.
Dr Faisal Shuaib, Executive Director, National Primary Health Care Development Agency (NPHCDA), said the hub would improve the immunisation logistics network and vaccine storage capacity amounting to 250 shipments per year.
Shuaib said the FCT, Lagos and Kano States would be having the structure for the storage and preservation of vaccines and other medical equipment needed for immunisation.
The 3-Hub project he said, is an initiative led by NPHCDA ti accommodate needed vaccines through 2035, adding that Lagos and Kano hubs would commenced simultaneously with that of the FCT.
Also speaking, Chief of Health, UNICEF Nigeria, Dr Eduardo Celades said the UN Agency had set a goal to reduce the number of zero-dose children by 25 per cent by 2025, and by 50 per cent by 2030.
According to him, Nigeria has the second highest number of zero-dose children in the world, adding that the hubs would enable it to achieve agenda for immunisation to reach and protect every child.
The supply chain challenges highlighted by the COVID-19 vaccination underline the need for a massive expansion of storage facilities to build resilience in the system.
In recognition of the need for resilience in the system, the Federal Government following detailed analysis, adopted a system redesign, to facilitate construction of three mega stores at the national level.
The deployment of optimised cold chain equipment at the health facilities; efficient distribution system and the deployment of electronic logistics management information system to provide visibility across the supply chain.