Fred Ezeh, Abuja
The Nigerian Government and some international donor agencies have begun the process of fine-tuning a two year policy document that would herald significant improvement in immunization coverage and also strengthen Primary Health Care services (PHCs) in Nigeria.
The document, which was presented to concerned officials, in Abuja, on Tuesday, contained steps and proposals on how best to utilise huge global financial interventions to improve on immunisation coverage in Nigeria.
Executive Director, National Primary Health Care Development Agency (NPHCDA), Dr. Faisal Shuaib, in his welcome remarks, appreciated the donor agencies for their untiring support, financially and otherwise, to Nigeria’s health system.
He, thus, reminded stakeholders and other participants of their role in achieving improved immunisation coverage, to justify huge financial investments being made by international donor agencies.
The NPHCDA boss solicited their diligent, committed and realistic ideas that would significantly reduce the number of unreached communities, thus, resulting in healthy communities.
“We must leave a legacy of good health institutions for generations unborn. Such things have been achieved in other areas. So, it is very possible in the health sector. But that could only be possible with the support of all stakeholders,” he said.
He asked the participants to constructively and sincerely critique the document, and possibly, offer superior ideas and suggestions on how best to achieve impressive coverage of immunisation.
He added, “This two year document was designed to catalyze a different model of working that would herald a significant reform in immunisation coverage and Nigeria primary healthcare services.
“We must be accountable and not shy away from the truth. There is no doubt that radical approach is needed to make significant progress.”
Meanwhile, official of the Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunisation (GAVI), Dr. Hindi Othman Khatib, appreciated the gradual progress made thus far, which she added, has significantly improved immunisation coverage and the primary healthcare delivery services in Nigeria.
She reminded the gathering that the recent approval by GAVI board for additional $3 billion for Nigeria was not an easy decision. She appealed to them judiciously use the fund to strengthen its routine vaccination for Nigerian children over the next ten years.
Representatives of World Health Organisation (WHO) and Bill and Melinda Gate Foundation, Fiona Braka and Vio Mitchell, respectively, appealed to the officials to freely exchange ideas, knowledge and offer superior ideas on immunisation coverage.