By Hassan Zaggi
In an effort to boost routine immunization in the country, the National Primary Health Care Development Agency (NPHCDA), has commissions 456 laptops and motorcycles.
The laptops and motorcycles are meant to support frontline health workers in states that are not doing well in immunization coverage.
The motorcycles and computers are also meant to enhance the Routine Immunization Officers’ ability for supportive supervision of service providers, and support the generation and on-site utilisation of programme data to continuously improve the quality of the immunization programme in Nigeria.
The World Bank and the World Health Organization (WHO), supported the initiative.
Speaking at the commissioning ceremony in Abuja, weekend, the Executive Director of the NPHCDA, Dr. Faisal Shuaib, applauded the World Bank and WHO for the support, stressing that the COVID-19 lockdown had dramatically affected routine immunization and indeed, Primary Health Care (PHC) services in the country.
“We experienced a situation where the lockdown prevented people from being able to access primary healthcare centres. So, there was a decline in practically all primary health care services.
“As at the last time we checked our data, we have now started to see that PHC services, especially, routine immunization, is going back to the levels that they used to be before the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Never before in the history of Nigeria have we seen more than a doubling of routine immunisation coverage within such a short period.
“Today, as we try to improve and get even beyond where we are today, we are donating these motorcycles and laptops to frontline workers.
“Only three years ago when we declared a state of emergency on the low routine immunisation coverage, we also recognised that it was going to take more than rhetoric to make sure that we achieve our ambition of ensuring that no child in Nigeria is left behind when it comes to getting all the vaccines that they need to grow into healthy and productive adults in our society.
“This is why we are working with the World Bank and our partners; we decided to ask ourselves why routine immunisation has been so poor. We realised that there was a need for us to provide frontline workers with the tools that they need.
“The tools that they need is part of what we are giving out today in terms of making sure that they have the logistics to get to the last mile, making sure that they have the equipment to be able to manage data,” Dr. Faisal, said.
He, however, disclosed that his agency has, in the last two years, reduced the difference between administrative data and survey data to less than 20 percent.”
Speaking while commissioning the laptops and the motorcycles, the Minister of Health, Dr. Osagie Ehanire, maintained that primary health care is the foundation of the health system of any country.
He commended the Executive Director of the NPHCDA, Dr. Faisal, for the success recorded in the agency since he assumed office.
“It thus gives me great pleasure to see the NPHCDA pursuing its mandate to implement a system-wide plan to enhance the immunization programme and ramp up coverage especially in poor performing states, to accelerate achievement UHC objectives which I commend.
“A particularly important part of improving immunization service delivery is the provision of logistics management support which will improve accountability, supportive supervision, demand generation and assurance of vaccine availability and access in the target states,” Ehanire noted.