It was the 30th of May, 2017 as top stakeholders in the immunization sector under the aegis of NIFT formally met with the Executive Director (ED) of the National Primary Healthcare Development Agency (NPHCDA) at the Agency’s Headquarter Conference Room in Abuja.
Moderated by the Acting Director of Communications at NPHCDA, Dr. Eugene Ivase, the meeting sought to introduce NIFT to the ED NPHCDA and seek his commitment and support to efforts to bolster the routine immunization programme in the country. Chair of NIFT, Dr. Ben Anyene then made a presentation on an overview of NIFT, its subcommittees, its mission and its activities. He particularly highlighted the need for States’ co-financing – with the Federal Government – of the immunization budget. Dr. Anyene stated that through the good work of McKinsey & Company in partnership with the NPHCDA, a thorough breakdown of the number of children per state needing immunization has been determined. Thus, information is now available per state on the required funding needed to vaccinate its children.
Paving the way for various NIFT subcommittees to address the ED, Dr. Aminu Magashi Garba, gave highlights about the advocacy subcommittee and their achievements thus far. He made reference to the just concluded one-day consultation on the draft roadmap for the implementation of the Addis Declaration on Immunization. He noted that the ED was well communicated on the results of the meeting as a copy of the resolutions were presented to his office, while the Minister for Health was debriefed during his attendance at the World Health Assembly.
Speaking on behalf of the legislative draft committee for the trust fund, Deputy Chair of the House Committee on Healthcare Services, Hon. Usman Muhammad stated that the team was working with a view to finalizing the draft legislation. The bill will then be tabled on the floor of the National Assembly for deliberation. Dr. Ivase also noted that the fund-raising subcommittee was working in consonance with the legislative draft committee.
To buttress comments by Hon. Usman, Dr. Anyene noted that NIFT was dedicated to producing documents that uphold international best practices and standards; stating that the work of NIFT will be circulated to the broader, international colloquium of immunization stakeholders. On the progress made regarding local vaccine production, he informed participants that Unicef was funding the development of the policy document, while the Minister for Health, Prof. Isaac Adewole has dedicated to fund the development of the bankable business plan. He said the development of the policy document and bankable business plan would catalyze activities for local vaccine production. Dr. Anyene also stated that it was auspicious that Nigeria now has a critical mass of proponents for health in the National Assembly; a situation which was non-existent in previous years.
Dr. Faisal Shuaib finally addressed participants as he responded to the speakers and commending the great work by NIFT and its subcommittees. He was very delighted to have NIFT as a strong component of his organization. He stated that ‘this is a new NPHCDA.’ Thus, he is ready to step up to the expectations to meet the mandate and ensure equitable vaccine access for all children in the country.
The event was well attended by immunization stakeholders including Direct and Consulting Logistics/International Vaccine Access Center, Clinton Health Access Initiative, Community Health and Research Initiative, Save the Children Nigeria, Preston Healthcare Consulting, West African Academy of Public Health, USAID, Nigeria Medical Association, Citizens’ Health Education and Development Initiative, FOMWAN, Silver Lining Initiative, AfrYPoD, The Vaccine Network, Initiative for Women And Child Development, and Traffina Foundation.