A not-for-profit organisation, Nigeria Solidarity Support Fund (NSSF) in collaboration with IHS Nigeria have concluded plans to boost immunisation services in the 196 wards of Cross River State in the next six months with funding to the tune of 47 million naira (N47m).
The N47m gesture is part of a 150 million naira (N150m) grant to the National Primary Healthcare Development Agency (NPHCDA) which is aimed at supporting the Conduct and Supervision of Optimised Outreach Sessions for Routine Immunisation (SCOORI) across the 196 wards of the state.
Speaking during an interface with the state’s Commissioner for Health, the General Manager of NSSF, Fejiro Chinye-Nwoko said it became imperative for them to intervene in the area of immunisation to reduce the mortality rate of under 5-year-old children.
She noted that from the data available from the NPHCDA, it was discovered that some states were grabbing with the issues of paucity of funds.
“NSSF is bridging the financial gap by supporting immunisation outreaches all in a bid to reduce the mortality rate of under 5 children.
“Over 70 per cent of children are not immunised in Nigeria, we want to make sure that every disease that can be controlled or prevented is effectively done while things like outbreaks are also prevented.
“We did an intervention in 2021/2022 on COVID-19 in six states and we discovered that we had positive impacts with the support given to those states.
“This time, we will also be intervening in three states for the next six months with Cross River being part of the states.
“We will be tracking the disbursement of funds and the impact. We hope to sustain this intervention and also hope to attract private sector participation in a bid to accommodate more states subsequently,” Chinye-Nwoko said.
Speaking further, Chinye-Nwoko explained that NSSF support will help ensure that immunisation is accessible to children in all 196 wards of Cross River state.
She said that the collaborative effort recognises the vital role of immunisation in protecting the health of Nigerian children and aims to improve access to life-saving vaccines for every child, thereby preventing life-threatening diseases and outbreaks of vaccine-preventable diseases as seen recently.
“This initiative will improve the sub-optimal immunisation coverage, bridge the immunisation gap, and safeguard vulnerable populations.
“This pilot project marks the beginning of NSSF’s collaboration with both the private and public sectors to address poor routine immunisation challenges in Nigeria after a successful collaboration to improve COVID-19 vaccination in the past.
“The immunisation outreaches will be carried out by skilled healthcare workers from the communities, with supervision provided by community members and healthcare professionals at various levels of governance, including ward, local government, state, and national levels,” she added.
On his part, Cross River state Commissioner for Health, Dr Henry Ayuk lauded NSSF for its magnanimity in bringing such a project to the state.
Ayuk assured that the fund will be judiciously applied for the intended purpose in order to achieve the desired result.
His words: “This kind of assistance from NSSF is uncommon and we appreciate it even more because It’s coming from an indigenous organisation, when they say 47 million you know it’s 100 per cent that you are getting.
“I want to assure you and IHS that is providing the funding that your investments are safe and well protected, and your efforts will never go unrecognised, you know my background, I understand how it works, and I am certain that you will get the best from Cross River state,” he stated.