By Hassan Zaggi
Foreign donors and other critical stakeholders have rekindled their confidence in the National Primary Heath Care Development Agency (NPHCDA), the Executive Director, Dr. Faisal Shuaib, has said.
He attributed the development to the sweeping reforms he introduced into the agency since he assumed office over a year ago.
In fact, some foreign partners who had earlier withdrawn their support for Nigeria have come back and are working with the management of the NPHCDA to wipe out killer-childhood diseases from the country.
In interview with The AUTHORITY in Abuja, Dr. Shuaib said that on assumption of office, his management established a formal financial control mechanism and better quality control in terms of financial dealings in order to build the image of the agency.
Shuaib also rolled out a four-point agenda, which according to him, has yielded impressive results.
The four-point agenda are restructuring of the NPHCDA, tackling polio, improved routine immunisation, and the strengthening of Primary Health Care (PHC).
Going into specifics on how the agency had feared in the past one year, the NPHCDA Executive Director said: “First and foremost, around the image and condition of work in the NPHCDA, may be I am not the right person to give that assessment, but I will have you know that in the last one year, six months after assuming office, Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunisation (GAVI) has made a commitment to come back and work with NPHCDA because they feel that all the structures we put in place and the transformation agenda we have laid out clearly resonate with what they will like to see at NPHCDA.
“They have seen the creation of a unit such as the grants coordinating and compliant office which looks at all the grants from development partners to ensure that it is in line with what we have agreed with the donors.
“They have seen also that we have been able to identify some major weaknesses such as mal-alignment of the human resources,” he said.
Shuaib continued: “Apart from the tangible progress that we have made, we can also hear from our development partners that there is a sense of purpose in NPHCDA because people are very clear of where they fit in the organisation.
“We have a clear vision, people understand the mission and they understand their place in the architecture of that vision. We have also, in relation to routine immunisation been able to catalyse action around addressing the gap in routine immunisation,” he said.
In terms of ensuring qualitative immunisation data and coverage, Dr. Shuaib said: “We established the Nigerian Emergency Routine Coordinating Centre. We did not only establish it at the national level, but it was also replicated at the states and local governments because it has to be owned by the states and the LGs. This is also because they have to drive the action to reverse this poor coverage.
“This is to infuse a greater sense of urgency to change the culture of how we view and operationalise the routine immunisation programme to say if we tell our communities that we are going to have routine immunisation session in a health centre on a particular date, it must happen at that date and time.
“We are instituting a different way of working to ensure that we execute all the plans that we have collectively developed.
“Right now, we are yet to start seeing the result, but we can see from the way we are laying the blocks that we are setting a strong foundation for routine immunisation in Nigeria,” he stated.