COVID-19: Nigeria receives $9.3m Canadian grant to strengthen vaccines delivery

NCDC DG, Ifedayo Adetifa
Director-General, NCDC, Dr Ifedayo Adetifa

The Federal Government has received a 9.3 million Canadian dollars grant from the Global Initiative for Vaccine Equity (CanGIVE), to boost COVID-19 vaccine delivery and strengthen the broader health system in the country.


The Canadian High Commissioner, Amb. Jamie Christoff, disclosed this on Wednesday in Abuja, during the launch of CanGIVE in Nigeria.


The event was hosted by the Federal Ministry of Health, in collaboration with the National Primary Health Care Development Agency (NpHCDA), and Nigeria Centre For Disease Control and Prevention (NCDC), supported by World Health Organization (WHO).


Chrisoff said that Nigeria, amongst six other countries, would benefit from the global initiative of $317 million (Canadian) by Canada.


He said that as the world moved beyond emergency pandemic response, continued access to COVID-19 vaccines, tests and treatments would remain critical for high-risk groups.


“In some low and lower-middle-income countries, vaccination rates remain low and health systems have been overstretched by the pandemic.


“This poses significant challenges to long-term COVID-19 management and recovery efforts,” he said.


Christoff said that under the CanGIVE, WHO projects would be implemented in seven countries, with Nigeria receiving the greatest share.


“Nigeria was also amongst the first countries to receive COVID-19 aid from Canada in September 2021.


“This important project is another important example of Canadian historical institutional relationship with the support of Nigeria in the critical work for preventing diseases and protecting those most at risk in the country,” he said.


He said that countries required support to integrate COVID-19 vaccination into ongoing immunization programmes and primary health services in a way that strengthened the broader health system and reverses the backsliding trend in routine immunisation over the pandemic.


“Canada is contributing to these efforts, building on Canada’s long-standing commitment to investing in and supporting health systems worldwide.


“Through CanGIVE, Canada will continue to support vaccination for high-risk groups where vaccination coverage remains low, particularly in humanitarian contexts and hard-to-reach places,” he said.


He said that the initiative would build on Canada’s long-standing commitment to invest and support health systems worldwide.

CanGIVE is  aimed to “strengthen vaccine delivery systems and community outreach to reach high-priority and marginalized groups”.


It also aims to integrate COVID-19 prevention and care, including increased gender-responsive capacity into routine health services in a way that strengthens the broader health system.


The Director-General, NCDC, Dr Ifedayo Adetifa, disclosed that the agency would be getting $1.4 million (Canadian) to strengthen the broader health system.


Adetifa said that the surveillance was important in helping the country to monitor and evaluate emerging patterns and trends of disease.


While expressing the agency’s appreciation for the grant, he said that surveillance was crucial because it contributes to better prevention and management of infectious diseases.


The Executive Director, NPHCDA, Dr Faisal Shuaib, said that while the country made significant progress, it still had work to do.


“Several states have primary series coverage below 70 per cent and bolster doses account for just over 20 per cent of vaccinations.


“Therefore, this grant targets states with lower performance and aims to reach high-priority populations.


“The grant, to be implemented through the WHO, will also contribute to strengthening the health system, addressing service delivery inequities and gender disparities at the sub-national level.


“We are confident that WHO will continue to support Nigeria’s efforts to enhance vaccine delivery, distribution, and public confidence, as well as generate demand,” he said.


He said that the states targeted for implementation included Ondo, Rivers, Kogi, Delta, Ebonyi, Lagos, Akwa-Ibom, Bayelsa, Benue, Ogun, Katsina, Taraba, Anambra, Kebbi and Edo.


 He, however, assured the Canadian government, donors and partners that the Federal Government was fully committed to sustaining and improving COVID-19 and routine immunization performance, along with other PHCs services.


Ms Chioma DanNwafor, Senior Technical Officer, Africa CDC, Regional Collaborative Centre for West Africa, said that the CANGIVE grant was timely, laudable and a step in the right direction.


DanNwafor said that Africa CDC was committed to supporting the member states through the saving lives and livelihood initiative to vaccinate at least 70 per cent of her population.


Also, the NPHCDA, Director of Disease Control and Immunization, Dr Bassey Okposen, said that the CanGIVE grant was a two-year grant in the country.


Okposen said that activities to be supported would be implemented through NCDC and NPHCDA and Nigeria was committed to ensuring that the grant was used to improve COVID-19 performances in the 15 targeted states.


According to him, the country has made progress in the fight against COVID-19.


As of July 17,  about 77.2 million persons in Nigeria had completed the primary series of COVID-19 vaccination, with 87.8 million persons receiving at least one dose of the vaccine.


He said 16.01 million of those who completed the primary series had received a booster dose of the vaccine.


Meanwhile, Dr Walter Kazadi Mulombo, Head of Mission & Representative, WHO, Country Representative Office in Nigeria, said that in spite of the country’s achievements, there was still more work to be done.


Mulombo said that WHO would continue to provide technical support to implement one health approach to preparedness and response and integrate COVID-19 surveillance and response activities into routine health programmes.


“Together with partners and the Federal Government of Nigeria, we should dedicate sustained attention and resources to preparedness and resilience to counter future threats.


“It is for such partnership and collaboration that I wish to acknowledge and appreciate the support from the Canadian Government for the CanGIVE grant.


“The grant has come at the right time to help improve coverage and uptake of the vaccine among the priority populations in line with the current WHO SAGE roadmap on uses of COVID-19 vaccines,” he said.


Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced on May 12, 2022, that CanGIVE would focus on 12 countries: Bangladesh, Colombia, Côte d’Ivoire, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Ghana, Haiti, Jamaica, Mozambique, Nigeria, Senegal, South Africa and Tanzania.


Trudeau said those investments were part of Canada’s $732-million commitment to the ACT-Accelerator.


Meanwhile, WHO obtained $57 million to increase equitable access to COVID-19 vaccines, particularly among priority groups and vulnerable populations, and reinforce health systems through strengthened community outreach, and data systems.


This is also with the delivery of gender-equitable immunization and primary healthcare in seven African countries.


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