The governments of Yobe, Bauchi, Borno, Kaduna, Kano, and Sokoto states have commended the contributions of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation (BMGF), Aliko Dangote Foundation, and United States Agency for International Development (USAID) for ensuring improved coverage of routine immunization and better service delivery in Primary Health Care (PHC) centres.
The states also revealed that the interventions, which was technically supported by the Solina Centre for International Development and Research (SCIDaR), ensured that there are no stockouts of vaccines, and the building of capacities of health workers.
The states signed Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Aliko Dangote Foundation and Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, which provided funding for the interventions which started in 2013 and ended in 2022.
In his remarks during the closeout and dissemination event of the Northern Nigeria States Routine Immunization Strengthening Project (NNRISP), the Director of Advocacy and Communications of the National Primary Health Care Development Agency (NPHCDA), Mohammed Abubakar said, “I congratulate the six states for this huge success recorded over the last ten years. It is no gainsaying that this collaboration has actually continued a lot towards the increase that we have seen in the immunization coverage in this country, as shown by the recent survey conducted.
“For us as a government, we cannot do it alone, we need the collaboration and partnerships of all the stakeholders in order to improve on our health indices. That way, we would get to our desired target destination, which is getting healthcare to the doorstep of the ordinary person in the country, that is, the Universal Health Coverage (UHC) that we all seek to attain.”
Dr. Rilwan Mohammed, Executive Chairman of the Bauchi State Primary Health Care Development Agency, while addressing journalists said, “We were crying when we heard they are closing out because this intervention started in 2013 and is closing out in 2022. What we received from these people are real technical support and trainings, particularly on routine immunization, research and support for our annual operation plan.
“This is very important because it is from there that we check our budget and see whether we are achieving what we set to achieve.
“If we look at the impact of the SCI in the area of routine immunization, we were really down; it was only 5 per cent in 2012, now, we are 33 per cent in coverage. It was the result of collaboration between SCI, partners and our government. Also, our coverage for family planning was as low as 25 per cent in acceptance, now it is about 65 per cent in Bauchi.”
Dr. Musa Matazu, McKing Consultant supporting the work for Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation (BMGF) in Yobe State added, “The MoU was informed by the poor health indices, weak health system and the lack of accountability in the health system in the implementing states.
“Five years now into the implementation of the MoU, the indices have improved, which we have seen the increase in immunization coverage from 9 per cent in 2013 to 51 per cent in the last survey that was conducted for Yobe State.
“Now, there is a kind of assured funding for critical health activities, which, hitherto were not available; even if available, they were not accounted for. Even if accounted for, there were a lot of pilferages and misdirection of the fund to where they are not even important. It has also improved the management capacity of the implementing staff in terms of capacity independence.
“We have also seen a high-level involvement, where you have the Deputy Governor as the Chairman of the Task Force on immunization and Primary Health Care (PHC), that sits every month to hear what we have done, our coverage, our challenges and next plan.
“When you look at the availability of vaccines, we used to have over 60 per cent of stockout of vaccines before the MoU, but currently in Yobe, we have been under five per cent in the past four years.”