Why extending support for immunisation in Nigeria was difficult decision – GAVI

The Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunisation (GAVI) says it was a difficult decision to extend its support in Nigeria because it meant reducing its commitment in other countries.

GAVI, the largest global coalition of the public and private sectors, was built on the goal of accelerating equal access to new and underutilised vaccines for children living in the world’s poorest countries.

Since 2001, the coalition has provided funds for Nigeria to buy vaccines for routine immunisation.

Nigeria was tagged to graduate from the scheme after the country was declared to have graduated from low income economy status to a middle income economy.

This change in economic status automatically disqualifies Nigeria from benefiting from the GAVI intervention funds, leading to an understanding to end the support in 2021.

But GAVI later announced it was extending the support to 2028.

Vio Mitchel, who represents the the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation on the GAVI Board, says the decision to extend the support has a consequence for other countries.

She disclosed this on Monday in Abuja at a meeting on Nigeria’s Strategy for Immunisation and Primary Health Care System Strengthening: 2-year Operational Plan Development 2019-2020 in Abuja.

She said the decision by GAVI to continue its support to Nigeria for another 10 years, instead of ending it in 2021, was reached after a great deal of debate.

Ms Mitchel said “the decision by GAVI to support Nigeria for another 10 years was not an easy one.

“Not because people do not value what is happening in Nigeria, but the level of investment that GAVI is proposing to Nigeria means that other countries will not be able to move forward on their plans,” she said.

She urged everyone at both the state and federal level to make the best use of these resources to really demonstrate the difference.

GAVI’s decision to extend its support for Nigeria to 2028 instead of the plan to transition in 2021 brought a major boost to the immunisation programme in the country.

In his opening remarks at the event, Executive Director of the National Primary Health Care Development Agency (NPHCDA), Faisal Shuaib, called for accountability in the primary healthcare system.

He said an accountability framework will help strengthen the country’s health institution.

The Managing Director, GAVI, Hind Khati, said the partnership between Nigeria and GAVI is important for continuous investment in immunisation in the country.

She said a lot of work is needed to sustain the partnership and improve routine immunisation in Nigeria.

Ms Khati stated that GAVI is fully committed to working with Nigeria.

The Director, disease Control and Immunisation at NPHCDA, Dorothy Nwodo, thanked GAVI for its contribution towards improvement of routine immunisation in Nigeria.

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