The European Union, EU, has supported immunisation of children in the Federal Capital Territory, FCT, against polio and other child-killer diseases with 859,147 euros (about N188, 338,000)
EU, through the European Union Support to Immunization Governance in Nigeria, EU-SIGN, began a five-year (now extended to eight years) project in 23 states of the federation and the FCT, with 55 million euros, according to FCT immunisation expert, Dr James Onoja Attah, at the launch of the EU-SIGN in Abuja recently.
He said out of the grant, 35 million euros was for routine immunisation, while 20 million euros was budgeted for polio. Minister of Budget and National Planning has since been the National Authority Officer for the fund and project, Attah said.
Goals of the project according to him are sustainable quality routine immunisation through effective primary health care system and to support the interruption of wild polio virus in the country. He added that the project would contribute to the reduction of childhood morbidity and mortality in the country.
Giving a breakdown of the grant as 859,147 euros (N188,337,940), State Technical Assistant, STA, EU-SIGN, Dr Bola Njoku, said the fund would be used to procure direct drive solar refrigerator, cold room, vehicles, motorcycles, computer systems and boost health systems in the FCT.
She noted that routine administrative coverage had been on a steady increase in the FCT “with several unimmunised children that need to be reached with efficient immunisation service in urban, semi-urban and rural areas.”
Njoku stressed that the grant would engender protection from vaccine-preventable-diseases for all children in the city, ensure rapid and equitable uptake of new vaccines and strengthen PHC system.
In his address, FCT Minister, Muhammadu Bello, who was represented by the FCT Permanent Secretary, Dr Babatope Ajakaiye, said the conduct of immunisation services “which is supported by the FCT Administration and partners aims to increase access to cost effective, lifesaving critical health interventions such as vaccinations against the vaccine preventable diseases, Vitamin A supplementation, nutritional screening and advice, health education on the key household practices including hand wash, personal hygiene environmental sanitation etc.”
According to him, diseases that could easily be prevented by immunisation, proper hand washing, regular intake of routine antenatal drugs, oral rehydration salts, proper nutrition “amongst others are still afflicting our children and mothers and causing us pain. In addition to these, there is the need to strengthen routine immunisation systems as the country moves towards the polio eradication endgame,”