2.2m Nigerian Children Not Immunized – UNICEF, GAVI

The United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) and GAVI, the Global Vaccine Alliance have said Nigeria is the second country globally with the highest number of children who have not received any dose of immunisation as the country have 2.2 million immunised children.

GAVI’s senior manager, health systems strengthening, Dr. Ibrahim Mohammed, who spoke yes at the second bi-annual review meeting with health officials from states and the Nigeria Governor’s forum (NGF), said eight states had been strategically selected across the country to benefit from a $50million intervention fund aimed at strengthening health care system and addressing the high number of Unimmunised children in Nigeria.The benefiting states are Kebbi, Zamfara, Katsina, Gombe, Taraba, Niger and Bayelsa.

He said, “Nigeria is one of those countries with the highest level of under and un-immunised children in the world. Nigeria is a very vast country, the needs and demand was huge so we prioritised these  eight states, informed by what we thought would be the change we could effect and we made available, a system strengthening fund of around $50 million to be spread across these states and be implemented starting this year and to end in 2024.”

He said GAVI is working with UNICEF, WHO and NGF on the project, adding that there have been a lot of improvement in the partnership. We are optimistic, we’re very much cautious about how the programme is going and hopefully from solid results we’ve seen this year, by next year we will be able to give a scorecard for states in a better manner.

UNICEF chief of health, Eduardo Celedas, said the child rights organisation is managing the $50millon intervention fund to support benefitting states on health system strengthening covering the components of human resources, data governance, leadership and supply chain to assist the states have a robust health system that would deliver results for children and women.

“At this moment, Nigeria is the second country in the world with 2.2 million zero-immunised children, that means a child that didn’t receive any dose of any vaccine and in these eight states, there are a huge percentage of zero immunised children. We hope with these investments, the states will be able to identify these missed children and vaccinate them.

“Almost 1000 human resources for health have been hired only in the last six months, a lot of procurement has been done and more than 14 vehicles and 700 motorbikes are going to be delivered to these eight states,” said Celedas.

Gombe State commissioner for Health, Dr. Dahiru Habu, said the intervention had helped the state to build the capacity and increase its workforce, saying over 400 new health care workers had been added to the existing workforce through the intervention.

He also said that the state had reactivated and renovated 114 PHCs one in each ward at least, adding that they were able to also improve the human resource for health and have a robust coordination mechanism.

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