In a significant development, the Nigerian Government has secured a $9,261,920 grant from the Canadian government to combat the COVID-19 pandemic. The grant, part of the Canada Global Initiative for Vaccine Equity (CanGIVE), is aimed at bolstering Nigeria’s vaccine efforts among high-priority risk groups and reinforcing the country’s health system.
Canada’s Historical Support to Nigeria
The High Commissioner of Canada to Nigeria, Jamie Christoff, emphasized the long-standing relationship between Canada and the World Health Organization (WHO) in providing assistance to Nigeria. The grant reflects Canada’s commitment to aiding Nigeria in its public health endeavors.
Integrating Efforts for an Inclusive Recovery
Mr. Christoff highlighted the importance of reinforcing public health systems even as the global emergency of COVID-19 subsides. The grant seeks to integrate COVID-19 vaccination efforts with routine immunization and other health services, ensuring that no one is left behind.
Strengthening Health Information Systems
The CanGIVE grant will support the integration of COVID-19 data into Nigeria’s health information systems, enhancing information management and disease surveillance. The incorporation of gender-responsive data is an essential step towards a more inclusive approach.
Progress of Vaccination Program
Faisal Shuaib, the Executive Director of the National Primary Health Care Development Agency (NPHCDA), shared insights into Nigeria’s vaccination progress. Over 75% of the target population has received at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine since the implementation began.
Inclusive Approach with Electronic Registry
Nigeria’s “One Country, One Team; One Plan, One Budget” approach reflects its commitment to integrating COVID-19 vaccination with other primary healthcare services. The establishment of an electronic registry streamlines the vaccination process and ensures comprehensive healthcare coverage.
Prioritizing High-Risk Populations
While celebrating the progress made, Mr. Shuaib acknowledged disparities among states in vaccination performance. The grant aims to target states with lower vaccination rates, prioritizing high-risk populations for a more equitable vaccine distribution.
Targeted Implementation States
States selected for targeted implementation include Ondo, Rivers, Kogi, Delta, Ebonyi, Lagos, Akwa-Ibom, Bayelsa, Benue, Ogun, Katsina, Taraba, Anambra, Kebbi, and Edo.
Enhancing Vaccine Coverage and Uptake
WHO’s Country Representative in Nigeria, Walter Mulombo, hailed the timely grant as a boost to improving vaccine coverage and uptake. Currently, 14 states in Nigeria have vaccination coverage of less than 50% of their target populations.
The $9.2 million grant from Canada comes as a ray of hope for Nigeria’s fight against COVID-19. With a focus on strengthening vaccination efforts and health systems, the grant aims to safeguard high-priority risk groups and accelerate the path to recovery. The support from Canada underscores the significance of international collaboration in tackling global health challenges. As Nigeria continues its vaccination drive, the grant will play a pivotal role in protecting vulnerable communities and fostering an inclusive, resilient healthcare system.