The Nigeria Solidarity Support Fund (NSSF) and the National Primary Health Care Development Agency (NPHCDA) are urging for increased funding to boost COVID-19 vaccination across Nigeria.

Improved PHC Infrastructure will Expand Access to Vaccines – NSSF

The Nigeria Solidarity Support Fund (NSSF) has highlighted the importance of improving primary healthcare infrastructure, saying it will aid in achieving better vaccine programmes.

The Vice-Chairman of NSSF, Mr. Aigboje Aig-Imoukhuede, said this in his welcome address during a webinar on expanding access to vaccines in Nigeria and building vaccine confidence, hosted in collaboration with the Nigeria Health Watch in Lagos.

He noted that if the Primary health infrastructure exists at the expected level, the cost of vaccines and its administration across the country and across demographics will reduce.

The CEO, BioVentures for Global Health, Jennifer Dent, said one key challenge to implementing and sustaining vaccination was finding the right partners because it would require local priorities to drive them.

She said that there was a need to build relationships, test ideas through pilots, and work with local stakeholders including at the grassroots, state, and national level stakeholders.

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Also, Director, Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, Nigeria, Dr. Caroline Jehu-Appiah, shared insights on how immunisation was failing in Nigeria, despite being cost-effective.

“Some of the key challenges include the tight fiscal space, the increasing cost of vaccines, poor population census, poor coverage of outbreaks, brain drain in the health sector, weak immunization demand, unutilized or poor data quality, “ Jehu-Appiah said.

Director of Statistics, National Primary Health Care Development Agency, Dr. Abdullahi Garba, noted that vaccine manufacturing was expensive and complex locally.

He, however, said that the government’s partnerships with countries such as India and Indonesia to support vaccine manufacturing would help bring down the costs.

The Senior Programmes Officer, Vaccine Delivery in the Nigeria Country Office of Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, Mr. Yusuf Yusufari, emphasised the need to have an end-to-end overview – from manufacturer to the last man.