Nigeria second with highest un-immunized children globally—-UNICEF, Gavi  – Veloxnews

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From Fred Ezeh, AbujaAt over two million un-immunized children (zero dose), Nigeria has been ranked second country in the world with highest number of under and un-immunized children.GAVI, the global vaccine alliance, and the United Nations Children Fund (UNICEF), and others confirmed the development at a second bi-annual review meeting with officials from eight states, namely, Zamfara, Jigawa, Kebbi, Katsina, Gombe, Taraba, Niger and Bayelsa States, where there’s an ongoing interventions to strengthen health systems, sponsored by GAVI.GAVI Senior Manager, Health Systems Strengthening, Dr. Ibrahim Ali Mohammed, told journalists in Abuja, on Monday, that $50 million was earmarked by GAVI to implement programmes in the aforementioned states that would culminate in improve human capital, governance, supply chain and other areas, that would ultimately strengthen health care system in the states.He said: “This intervention was conceived in 2019. $50 million was earmarked for the project and the implementation started this year and will run till 2024. The idea is to strengthened health systems particularly at the sub-national level. Ordinarily, we carry out interventions at country level, but this time, we changed approach because it became necessary.“We are working with UNICEF, WHO and Nigeria Governors’ Forum (NGF) on the project and we have seen improvement in this partnership. They have given us the update on the implementation and we are impressed. However, there’s opportunity for improvement and cross-learning.”“Nigeria is among countries in the world with highest number of un-immunized children, hence it’s a focus country for us as global vaccine alliance. We changed our approach this time because we normally deal with countries but in this, we went to sub-national levels to work with some crucial partners to achieve our desired goal.UNICEF Chief of health, Eduardo Celedas, in his remarks, confirmed that the intervention has contributed greatly to improving the health of the women and children in the benefitting states.He said the role of UNICEF in the project is to manage the fund in order to achieve its objective of strengthening the health care system in the benefitting states, in areas of human resources, governance, supply chain and other areas.He was optimistic that at the end of the three years of the intervention, the benefitting states would have a roboust health system that would be useful to women and children.Meanwhile, Gombe State Commissioner for Health, Dr. Dahiru Habu, in his assessment of the intervention, confirmed that it has helped his state improve its health workforce and other services in the states.He said: “It has been a good partnership that has helped us tackle the menace of un-immunized children in Gombe state. For instance, over 400 new health care workers have added to existing workforce through the programme, in addition to several other procurements.”He said that assessment by the GAVI, UNICEF and other monitors confirmed that among eight benefitting states, Gombe is on top, an indication they are doing well, with the support of the state government.



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