GAVI, the global vaccine alliance has earmarked $50 million to improve human capital, governance, supply chain, and other areas that would strengthen health care system in Zamfara, Jigawa, Kebbi, Katsina, Gombe, Taraba, Niger, and Bayelsa states.
The GAVI Senior Manager of Health Systems Strengthening, Dr. Ibrahim Ali Mohammed disclosed this at a second bi-annual review meeting on Monday in Abuja.
He said, “The intervention was conceived in 2019. $50 million was earmarked for the project and the implementation started this year and will run till 2024.
“The idea is to strengthen health systems, particularly at the sub-national level. Ordinarily, we carry out interventions at the country level, but this time, we changed the approach because it became necessary.
“We are working with UNICEF, WHO, and Nigeria Governors’ Forum on the project and we have seen improvement in this partnership. They have given us an update on the implementation and we are impressed. However, there’s an opportunity for improvement and cross-learning.
“Nigeria is among the countries in the world with the highest number of unimmunised children, hence it’s a focus country for us as a global vaccine alliance. We changed our approach this time because we normally deal with countries but in this, we went to sub-national levels to work with some crucial partners to achieve our desired goal”.
The UNICEF Chief of Health, Eduardo Celedas, also affirmed that the intervention has contributed greatly to improving the health of the women and children in the benefitting states.
Celedas said the role of UNICEF in the project is to manage the fund to achieve its objective of strengthening the health care system in the benefitting states, in areas of human resources, governance, supply chain, and other areas.
He was optimistic that at the end of the three years of the intervention, the benefitting states would have a robust health system that would be useful to women and children.
Meanwhile, Gombe State Commissioner for Health, Dr. Dahiru Habu, in his assessment of the intervention, confirmed that it has helped his state improve its health workforce and other services.
He said “It has been a good partnership that has helped us tackle the menace of unimmunised children in Gombe state. For instance, over 400 new health care workers have added to the existing workforce through the programme, in addition to several other procurements.”
He said that the assessment by the GAVI, UNICEF, and other monitors confirmed that among eight benefitting states, Gombe is on top, an indication they are doing well, with the support of the state government.
By Lara Adejoro,