Nigeria making progress in immunisation, primary healthcare, says Buhari

President Muhammadu Buhari says steady progress is being made in achieving the targets set out in Nigeria’s Strategy for Immunization and Primary Health Care System Strengthening.

This, he said, could be seen from the preliminary reports showing 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 stated this when he received the Gavi Alliance High-Level Mission to Nigeria led by Dr. Seth Berkley, Chief Executive Officer of The Gavi Alliance and members of the Gavi Alliance, at the State House, Abuja, on Friday.

He said there was a drop to 56 per cent in 2021, due to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, adding, “however, there is a lot more to do.’’

According to the president, the Federal Government will increase funding to the health sector through the Basic Healthcare Provision Fund and other initiatives.

“Gavi’s disbursement of a total sum of 1.5 billion dollars in grants to support immunisation and health systems strengthening in Nigeria since 2001 has significant results but I know that as partners we would all like to see this translated into an improvement in our health indices and outcomes, particularly in the area of maternal and newborn health.

Buhari noted the Gavi Board’s exceptional approval for the extension of Nigeria’s transition out of Gavi’s support, which was initially scheduled for 2022 to 2028.

He also noted the joint commitment of over three billion dollars to fund vaccine procurement and health system strengthening interventions across the country.

Buhari said he received regular briefings from the Presidential Steering Committee on COVID-19 and the National Economic Council on the ongoing efforts by the Federal Ministry of Health, National Primary Healthcare Development Agency and partners to ensure an improvement in the uptake of COVID-19 vaccines.

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.

While in the country, the team would also be expected to support the establishment of a robust primary health care system and access to vaccines.

He added that GAVI had also been of immense help in accessing the COVID-19 vaccines through the COVAX facility.

Chief Executive Officer of The Gavi Alliance said the last time he visited the country the foundations of the 2018 Accountability Framework were still in setting, adding that the follow-up visit was an important opportunity to take stock of the progress being made.

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