Ever since Edward Jenner demonstrated the value of immunization in 1792, vaccination has continued to remain a key strategy in the prevention and control of infectious diseases including preventable childhood diseases. Nigeria, with a population of over 170 million, has one of the highest under five mortality rates in the globe, with about 25% of these deaths preventable through routine immunization.
Despite marginal improvements and millions of dollars of supply chain investments by development partners and bilateral donors to address supply chain system challenges, Nigeria’s public health supply chain continues to be ineffective, inefficient, fragmented, and wasteful. Existing State and donor driven supply chain interventions are inadequate and necessitate bold innovative approaches and complementary broad based partnerships to disrupt the cycle of poor public health supply chain performance.
Whilst the Federal Government reinstates the need to provide immunization services and potent vaccines free to all population at risk as well as ensure equitable access, a 2016 NIC/MICS survey reveal the unavailability of vaccine stock across the states which has contributed to low immunization coverage. More worrisome is the fact that only 3 out of every 10 children are immunized in Nigeria while all Northern states in the country have immunization coverage below 50 percent.
A recent analysis show that weak cold chain infrastructure and inefficient vaccine distribution system is one of the 6 key immunization program challenges in Africa’s most populous nation.
To reverse this worrisome trend, Africa Resource Centre for Supply Chain in Nigeria (ARC Nigeria), an independent advisor and strategic partner founded by the Private Sector Health Alliance of Nigeria and Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation (BMGF) is brokering States and Private sector partnerships to strengthen vaccine cold chain infrastructure in Nigeria.
Speaking at the Knowledge Sharing and Hackathon Workshop on Supply Chain organized by ARC Nigeria which brought together Ministry of Health Directors and Immunization Managers from Borno, Sokoto, Osun, Kano, Kaduna, Katsina, Zamfara, Yobe and Niger states, Dr. Kayode Ogunniyi, Executive Secretary, Osun State Primary Healthcare Development Board, said that the survival of Nigeria as a nation depends on the quality of healthcare that is giving to children particularly the under-5 that constitute 20 percent of the total population.
According to Dr. Ogunniyi “Giving them the right vaccines at the right time is a strategy to secure their wellbeing. A robust knowledge of vaccine supply chain with a view to protecting vaccine integrity from the manufacturers to the administration to the child is a task that must be done. Thanks to National Primary Healthcare Development Agency (NPHCDA), ARC Nigeria and Solina for this initiative.”
Dr. Samuel Jiya, Program Manager, Immunisation Vaccine and Logistics, Niger State, revealed that the workshop has created a platform that will strengthen Public-Private Partnerships in the Immunisation and Vaccine space in Nigeria.
“It has facilitated direct engagement of players in the Private sector and public wing. Personally, for Niger State, we have outlined our challenges and proffer new innovations in tackling them. Kudos to ARC Nigeria. Keep it up,” Dr. Jiya stated.
Sharing private sector engagement experience in healthcare, Trip Allport, Project Last Mile Delivery Lead, BMGF, disclosed that the Project Last Mile (PLM), in partnership with the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, is proud to support Nigeria in strengthening the vaccine cold chain, tapping into the capabilities of The Coca-Cola Company and its bottling partner, the Nigerian Bottling Company (NBC).
“By leveraging the local expertise and business partners of the Coca-Cola System in the country, we believe we can contribute to a marked improvement to maintaining a functional vaccine cold chain, meaning more children will have effective vaccines available at the point of care,” he said.
Source : Daily Post