The Canadian government granted the Federal Government a $9,261,920 funding on Wednesday to help scale up the COVID-19 immunisation programme among high-risk groups. The grant will also help Nigeria’s healthcare system grow.
The project is another illustration of Canada’s historical institutional relationship with the WHO to support Nigeria in the crucial work for preventing disease and protecting those most at risk, said Jamie Christoff, High Commissioner of Canada to Nigeria, in a speech at the grant’s Abuja launch, on Wednesday.
Christoff stated that even if COVID-19 is no longer a worldwide emergency, strengthening public health systems is still crucial for a comprehensive and long-lasting recovery.
He said, “We must intentionally link up these efforts with routine immunisation and other services. This can help, for example, to reach children who missed routine vaccinations over the pandemic. We know that ultimately, it takes a health system to turn a vaccine into vaccination.”
He also said the project will also integrate COVID-19 into the country’s health information systems, enhancing information management and disease surveillance data, including gender-responsive data.
Christoff added that “Under CanGIVE, the WHO project will be implemented in seven countries, where Nigeria receives the greatest share of $9 million Canadian Dollars. Nigeria was also amongst the first countries to receive COVID-19 vaccine doses from Canada in September of 2021, and I am pleased to be able to continue Canada’s support to Nigeria with this latest project.”
On his part, the Executive Director and Chief Executive Officer of the National Primary Health Care Development Agency, Dr Faisal Shuaib said since the COVID-19 vaccination programme was launched in Nigeria on March 5, 2021, over 75 per cent of the target population of individuals aged 18 and above have been reached with at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine.
“The programme has been implemented in phases, ensuring that eligible populations are reached and no one is left behind. Nigeria was among the first countries to establish an electronic registry and integrate COVID-19 vaccination with other primary healthcare services. Our One Country, One Team, One Plan, One Budget approach reflects our commitment to integrating lessons learned during and after the pandemic into our healthcare system.
“While we have made significant progress, we still have work to do. Several states have primary series coverage below 70 per cent, and booster doses account for just over 20 per cent of vaccinations. Therefore, this grant targets states with lower performance and aims to reach high-priority populations,” he said.
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