By Aderogba George
The The Global Vaccine Alliance (GAVI), a public-private health partnership with the goal of increasing access to immunisation in poor countries, says it will support eight states in Nigeria with $50 million dollars.
The Chief of Health, United Nations International Children Emergency Fund (UNICEF), Mr Eduardo Celades, an organisation partnering with GAVI, said this in Abuja on Monday at the second bi-annual review health system in the country.
He said that the funds would be provided to states to improve their primary healthcare system.
The benefitting states are Zamfara, Kebbi, Katsina, Jigawa, Gombe, Taraba, Niger and Bayelsa.
“We are working to support eight states by strengthening them for the next three years. The support is about 50 million dollars to lift up the states in their health system.
“We will also support these states with human resources, data, governance and supply chain, we expected that in the next three years, the states will have a robust sound health system to care for children and women.
“We are impressed about the health implementation support we have been giving to these states so far, we believe that their performance is good, and we are going to see the difference in the next couple of days,” he said.
Celades said about 1000 human resources had been hired over the last six months and a lot of procurement had been done to assist these states in strengthening their health system.
He disclosed that more than 14 vehicles and 70 motorbikes would be delivered to these selected states, adding that just only six months after the support kick-started in 2019, the states were already having impact.
According to him, the main challenge remained the capacity of the states to absorb and utilise the strength to get results, and that there were a lot of investments that needed to be used wisely.
He encouraged the states to focus on what was important to deliver services for women and children, especially in Bayelsa and Niger where floods mostly affected.
He said that health workers in the two states needed to work together to overcome the challenges and deliver services to women and children, adding that what was expected from the states was their commitment.
Mr Ibrahim Mohammed, Senior Manager, GAVI Health System Strengthening, said there had been a healthy utilisation of the funds that were made available to the states earlier.
He said that GAVI had been so much encouraged with the partnership from the states in spite of the pandemic that befell the country when the support was still at its earlier stage.
“We have been so much encouraged with the partnership from the states, even in spite of the pandemic that befell the country, the states were able to leverage on the opportunity they have.
“This commitment from the states also broadened the the scope of the engagement on what we design for the primary healthcare system.
“The whole programme started in 2019, the idea was to strengthen the health system particularly at the sub national level .
“GAVI is mandated with the task of immunisation globally; Nigeria is one of the countries with under immunised children and non immunised children.
“We decided to pilot this programme with eight states where we thought performance of immunisation was low; there are other states where there are no much presence of immunisation.
Dr Abu Dahiru, Commissioner for Health, Gombe, said the sate was fully participating in the GAVI programme, saying that it was an intervention that came timely to the state, considering the huge number of un-immunised children.
“For us, it is a very good partnership, the whole essence is to make a change in the health system, we will bring out children who are yet to be immunised and improve maternal health.
“We will do this with passion to see results; we have done the first line, we will see how we can change the narrative and improve performance in terms of immunisation and maternal care.
“440 health workers have been co-opted into the system at the primary level, we took in midwives and community health extension workers, junior community health extension workers.
“We will deploy them to facilities that have no Routine Immunisation Coverage (RI) and with this we hope to get a difference,” Dahiru stressed.
He said that the state government had a sustainable plan for Primary Health Care (PHC), adding that with the support of the governor, the health sector in the state was begining to have a new look. (NAN) (www.nannews.ng)
Edited by Idris Abdulrahman