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Buhari: We’ll increase health sector funding

President Muhammadu Buhari has said the federal government will increase funding to the health sector through the Basic Healthcare Provision Fund and other initiatives. He…

President Muhammadu Buhari has said the federal government will increase funding to the health sector through the Basic Healthcare Provision Fund and other initiatives.

He said this Friday while receiving the Gavi Alliance High Level Mission to Nigeria, led by the chief executive officer, Dr Seth Berkley, at the State House, Abuja.

The president, in a statement issued by his spokesman, Femi Adesina, said steady progress was being made in achieving the targets set out in Nigeria’s Strategy for Immunisation and Primary Health Care System Strengthening.

He said preliminary reports had shown that coverage for the third dose of the pentavalent vaccine increased from 33 per cent in 2017 to 63 per cent in 2019.

The president, who said there was a drop to 56 per cent in 2021 due to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, however, added, “There is a lot more to do.”

Buhari appreciated the Gavi board’s approval for extension of Nigeria’s transition out of its support from 2022 to 2028, and the joint commitment of over $3bn to fund vaccine procurement and health system strengthening interventions across the country.

He urged Gavi to also explore the provision of support to secondary healthcare facilities in its engagement with states, saying, “This critical tier of our healthcare system is in dire need of support, particularly in this era of pandemics.”

He assured that the federal government would sustain and improve work on routine immunisation performance, contain outbreaks of the Circulating Vaccine-Derived Polio Virus, strengthen surveillance against wild polio virus and curb the spread of the COVID-19 virus.

In his remarks, the Minister of Health, Dr Osagie Ehanire said the Gavi team was in Nigeria for the annual review of the implementation of the accountability framework of the Nigerian strategy on routine immunisation and to support the establishment of a robust primary healthcare system in the country and access to vaccines.

The chief executive officer of The Gavi Alliance recalled that the last time he visited the country, the foundations of the 2018 Accountability Framework were still setting, adding that the follow-up visit was an important opportunity to take stock of the progress being made.