After polio resurgence, Nigeria progresses towards global immunisation goals – Dr Fiona Braka — Nigeria Today
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After polio resurgence, Nigeria progresses towards global immunisation goals – Dr Fiona Braka

FOR three days (December 5-7, 2017), immunisation experts from the World Health Organisation, WHO, African Region and rest of the world converged in Johannesburg, South Africa, for the biannual Regional Immunisation Technical Advisory Group (RITAG) meeting.

The RITAG  is  the principal advisory group to the WHO Regional Office for Africa, offering strategic guidance on regional immunisation policies and programmes.

Dr. Fiona Braka

Following a media  telebriefing on key outcomes of the RITAG meeting, Dr Fiona Braka, the WHO Nigeria Team Leader for Expanded Programme on Immunisation, spoke to Sola Ogundipe about fortunes of Nigeria towards attainment of  the Global Vaccine Action Plan (GVAP) and the Africa Regional Strategic Plan for Immunization (RSPI) target.  Excerpts:

Assessment of investments/ commitments to health systems in Nigeria towards attainment of sustainable immunisation goals

“Nigeria is committed to achieving universal health coverage (UHC) in line with a Presidential declaration on UHC in 2014.   Establishing an Effective Primary Health Care System is the foundation for Achieving Universal Health Coverage.

“The Ministry of Health’s ‘Universal Health Coverage for Change’ agenda has a goal to reach 100 million Nigerians through at least 10,000 revitalized Primary Health Care centers (PHC); one per senatorial ward.

The ministry aims to rapidly expand PHC services to the poor and vulnerable; anchored on a pragmatic cost effective, socially acceptable delivery model that rapidly scales up basic health services and commodities by integrating the supply and demand sides interventions.

The National Primary Health Care Development Agency (NPHCDA) keyed-into this agenda and has a strategic direction of strengthening Immunisation by ensuring a resilient Immunisation system at the PHC level.

This will enable to country achieve its target of 85 percent coverage for all antigens.

Also recall that the  Minister of Health, Professor Isaac Adewole urged delegates to the 58th  session of the National Council on Health in March 2016 with the theme, ‘Universal Health Coverage (UCH): An Agenda for Change’ to embrace the country’s obligation towards fruition of UCH as key health sector goal of the sustainable development goals (SDGs).

The call was a result of surveys showing monumental decay in service delivery despite the enormous investments by government and partners.

The government is also ensuring consistent financial commitment for procurement of traditional vaccines by providing the necessary resources annually to meet the required needs to avoid stock outs.

The Nigerian government is therefore already taking substantial initiatives to implement programmes for attaining UHC and build technical capacity, the country has greater potential for health development generally.

However, government at all levels need to intensify measures to monitor the implementation of laudable policies and immunisation goals.

On its part, WHO will continue to provide required technical support to effectively implement government policies towards universal health coverage.

Mid-term assessment on GVAP/RSPI

Nigeria has made tremendous gains towards achieving the GVAP and RSPI goals.  After the resurgence of wild poliovirus (WPV) in 2016, the country launched an aggressive outbreak response action plan to interrupt wild poliovirus transmission, backed up by a broader sub regional outbreak response coordinated with neighboring countries.

To date, the country has gone more than 12 months without WPV. AFP/polio surveillance has been enhanced through wide scale training of health workers at all levels, as well as community informants. There has been regular supply of quality vaccines.  New and under-utilized vaccines have been introduced nationwide.

However, the 2016 National Immunization Coverage survey, NICS, showed immunisation coverage that is lower than previous estimates.

The government’s declaration of routine immunisation as a State of Public Health Concern, with establishment of the National Emergency Routine Immunization Coordination Center, NERICC, demonstrated government recognition of the gaps and resolve to address them as a matter of urgency.

The establishment of NERICC (with the  objective of providing a national and sub-national coordination mechanism to manage the full implementation of the routine immunisation programme, strategies and other recommendations of various expert committees towards achieving routine immunisation coverage of greater than 85 percent for ALL antigens at national, states and LGAs levels) shows that there is commitment to close identified  gaps.

So far, 18 states have been prioritized for focused support to rapidly improve their routine immunization coverage using innovative approaches. Linkages with traditional institutions at community level to increase demand are being strengthened.

An accountability framework defining the roles at the different levels of government and partners has been developed and is being rolled out and efforts are underway to strengthen data management.

Political leadership is being mobilized at federal and state levels to invest more in routine immunisation, and to track performance towards the set targets.

The post After polio resurgence, Nigeria progresses towards global immunisation goals – Dr Fiona Braka appeared first on Vanguard News.

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This post was syndicated from Vanguard News. Click here to read the full text on the original website.

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