Home News Six in Nigeria mark 10 years Routine Immunization strengthening project

Six in Nigeria mark 10 years Routine Immunization strengthening project

by Haruna Gimba
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By Asmau Ahmad with agency report

Six states in Nigeria are marking 10 years of successful Northern Nigeria States Routine Immunisation Strengthening Project (NNRISP).

NNRISP was designed to strengthen Primary Health Care Services in implementing states, so that they can, later on, take ownership of the project.

The states involved are Bauchi, Borno, Kaduna, Kano, Sokoto, and Yobe.

Some of the state representatives spoke with NAN on Thursday in Abuja, during an event organised by the Solina Centre for International Development and Research.

They said the project strengthened routine immunisation services in the participating states.

Executive Director, Bauchi State Primary Health Care Development Agency, Dr. Rilwan Mohammed, said the states were unhappy to learn that the project was closing because the intervention started in 2013 and close in 2022.

“What we received from these people is real technical support and training, particularly on routine immunizations, research and support for our annual operation plan.

“This is very important because it is from there that we check our budget and see whether we are achieving what we set to achieve.

“If we look at the impact of the SCIDaR in the area of routine immunisation, we were down; it was only five per cent in 2012, and now, we are 33 per cent in coverage.

“It was the result of collaboration between SCIDaR, partners and our government. Also, our coverage for family planning was as low as 25 per cent in acceptance, now it is about 65 per cent,” he said.

Speaking on the impact on his state, Dr. Musa Usman, a representative from Yobe State, said that the MoU was informed by the poor health indices, weak health system and lack of accountability.

“So, after the implementation of the MoU, the indices had improved. We have seen an increase in Immunisation coverage from nine per cent in 2013 to 51 per cent.

Now, there is assured funding for critical health activity, which hitherto, were not available and not accounted for,” he said.

Dr Usman said that the state used to have over 60 per cent stock-out of vaccines, but currently, it had been at five per cent for the past four-five years.

“The MoU is serving as a platform for other different interventions. Using the same framework, we are now able to expand it to an integrated Primary Health Care MoU that caters for all PHC activities,” he added.

According to him, most implementing states used to collect data from partners, now the reverse is the case.

He said that the state now has a data control room for all PHC services, adding, “Our data is reliable because the quality of the data has improved.”

The former Executive Director, SPHCDA, Borno State, Dr. Lawi Auta Mshelia, said that amid the insurgency, the Borno State Government would not have been able to achieve all it had done in strengthening the PHCs.

He said this was made possible with support from the NNRISP project implemented by SCIDaR in the state.

The former Commissioner for Health in Yobe State, Dr. Muhammed Lawan, said that the state had seen several benefits from NNRISP, including improvements in maternal and child health.

He noted that there had been an increased uptake of Immunisation services and mechanisms that strengthened health systems.

Meanwhile, the Principal Programme Manager, SCIDaR, Dr. Raihanah Ibrahim, said that the NNRISP had been on an evolutionary journey with the MoUs over the past 10 years.

He explained that all the steps taken were to strengthen Primary Health care in implementing states, and more importantly, allow states to take ownership of the project.

She said that socio-cultural factors such as poverty, illiteracy and myths affected the acceptance and uptake of immunisation in communities where the project was implemented.

“However, the MoUs changed the narrative, addressed gaps and increased engagement through sustained advocacy.

“Political will of state governments and systems approach that promotes accountability is a positive asset to the MOUs establishment and implementation.

“It enabled a transferable focus on finances, stock/supply chain and data monitoring from governance to facility level,” she explained.

NAN reports that recognising the need for reforms to galvanise resources and support to address routine immunisation performance, the six states entered into an MoU partnership with the Aliko Dangote Foundation and Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

SCIDaR provided technical support for the project which lasted from 2013 to 2022.

A total of 59.4 million dollars was invested across the states.

While Gates and Dangote foundations invested 30 million dollars, the state governments provided the remaining funding.

The State Primary Healthcare Development Agency is responsible for the planning, implementation, and supervision of primary healthcare programmes and services in the states.

The agency works to ensure equitable access to quality healthcare, with a focus on preventive and promotive services, including routine Immunisation.

The project was birthed due to the state routine immunisation system in Northern Nigeria, which was dogged by significant system challenges, thus, contributing to poor health outcomes.

The National surveys reported low vaccination coverage across many of the northern states which contributed to huge numbers of childhood illnesses and deaths from vaccine-preventable diseases.

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