Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance is supporting eight states of the country with a $50m grant to strengthen their health system from this year to 2024.
Thye states are Bayelsa, Gombe, Jigawa, Katsina, Kebbi, Niger, Taraba and Zamfara.
Dr. Ibrahim Ali Mohammed, Senior Manager, Health Systems Strengthening (HSS) for Gavi, the vaccine Alliance, made the call yesterday in Abuja during the primary health care strengthening Memorandum of Understanding biannual partners review meeting, organised by GAVI, UNICEF and the Nigeria Governors Forum (NGF).
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The support is governed by an integrated routine immunization (RI) and primary healthcare (PHC) Memorandum of Understanding (MoU).
He said: “They have given us the update on the implementation and we are impressed. However, there’s opportunity for improvement and cross-learning.
“Nigeria is among countries in the world with highest number of un-immunized children, hence it’s a focus country for us at Gavi.
We are very much proud of the fact that this is a process that is joined up with the idea around reaching the unreached in even these states that are underperforming, and the prioritization of zero dose children; and the fact that this is very much aligned with the National Primary Health Care Development Agency (NPHCDA).”
He said to ensure sustainability there have been high level engagement with state governors to secure their commitments as the program moves forward. He added that $14m has been released this year, adding that subsequent releases will be based on performance of each state.
UNICEF Chief of Health, Eduardo Celades, said his organisation is co- leading the programme at country level in conjunction with the World Health Organisation (WHO).
He said there have been a lot of lot of progress and impact.
“Almost 1,000 human resources for health have been hired in the within just six months as well. A lot of procurement has been done, and tomorrow we’ll have a ceremony where more than 14 vehicles and 700 motorbikes will be delivered to the eight states. So we really think we have a lot of impact in just six months,” he said.
Gombe State Commissioner for Health, Dr. Dahiru Habu, assured of the sustainability of the program in Gombe state saying the state governor has put in place mechanisms and continuous monthly subventions for monitoring and supervision of PHC programs.