By Hassan Zaggi
In an effort to improve immunization in the country, the Federal Government has launched a Cold Chain Equipment, (CCE), at Aleyita Primary Health Care, (PHC), in Abuja, the Federal Capital Territory (FCT).
It would be recalled that the Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunisation (GAVI), in collaboration with the Nigeria government procured about 13,000 units of CCE to support the country’s immunization program.
This is even as GAVI has committed over $3 billion in new funding for vaccines, cold chain infrastructure and health system strengthening across states of Nigeria.
Speaking while launching the CCE, the Permanent Secretary in the Federal Ministry of Health, Abdullazeez Mashi, noted that the importance of immunization could not be overemphasized as it had been estimated to avert between two to three million deaths annualy.
He explained that the CCE were vital to help the country increase its immunisation coverage, reaching children with life- saving vaccines and protecting them against deadly diseases.
He said the CCE would ensure that vaccines were widely available and remain cold, safe and effective in all primary health care centres across the country.
While applauding GAVI for the support, Abdullaziz revealed that GAVI had for long been supporting Nigeria to ensure availability of the vaccines and the cold chain equipment to store them since 2012.
“GAVI supported the procurement of Solar Direct Drive refrigerators in 2014/2015. These CCE are still going strong.
“Now we have GAVI providing co-financing to procure close to thirteen thousand cold Chain Equipment for deployment across the country,” he reiterated.
Earlier, the Executive Director of the National Primary Healthcare Development Agency (NPHCDA), Dr Faisal Shuaib,
commended GAVI for its over one billion dollars support to Nigeria since 2001, especially through the provision of vaccines to millions of people across the country.
“Nigeria has experienced various fiscal and security challenges that have hindered our ability to fully finance the vaccines by 2021 as originally planned.
“GAVI has extended its co-financing support period from 2021 to 2028, and has also committed over three billion dollars in new funding for vaccines, cold chain infrastructure and health system strengthening across the country,” Shuaib said.
On his part, the Chief Executive Officer of GAVI, Dr Seth Berkley, explained that CCE had been designed to support countries with rehabilitating, expanding, and extending the cold chain by appropriately selecting, procuring, and deploying the optimised products presented in the guide.
According to Berkley, CCE would enable countries improve vaccine availability, increase vaccine safety, and maintain vaccine potency.
As a result, he said, more children in more locations may receive effective vaccines, contributing toward improving country immunisation coverage.
He stated that with the lower operating costs of many of the optimised products, the CCE should support countries with implementing more cost-effective and high-impact immunisation systems.
Berkley said that the CCE have the capabilities to improve performance and safety, such as: mains-powered ILR fridges and freezers that keep vaccines cool and safe even if the power was intermittent or out for multiple days.