NSSF donates N300m to support NPHCDA vaccination of one million Nigerians

The Nigeria Solidarity Support Fund (NSSF) has donated N300 million as part of its strategic support to the National Primary Health Care Development Agency (NPHCDA) in the COVID-19 vaccination program in Nigeria.

The donation is to improve vaccine equity and boost access to COVID-19 vaccination among vulnerable Nigerians, expected to reach million vaccinated population by end of 2021.

The donation is expected to help support the COVID-19 advocacy campaign in six states across six geo-political zones in Nigeria, thereby reducing vaccine hesitancy and increasing vaccine uptake. Benefitting states include Adamawa, Edo, Imo, Katsina, Nasarawa, and Ogun, targeting each Local Government Area (LGA). With a roll out target of 60 vaccines a day per team from October 1, NSSF noted that one million vaccinations would be achieved by December 31 this year.

The NSSF, the brainchild of Global Citizen (GC) and the Nigeria Sovereign Investment Authority (NSIA), noted that as African countries accelerate the deployment of COVID-19 vaccine, vaccine inequity and hesitancy continue to pose a major challenge.

With its multi-donor institutional mechanism for mobilizing pooled funds earmarked to support the government’s COVID-19 relief efforts, the donation is to further accelerate the rate of delivering and administering Covid-19 vaccines across the country particularly in rural and urban poor population segments.

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The campaign will also address the challenge of vaccine hesitancy experienced during the first phase of the COVID-19 vaccination rollout in Nigeria as well as delays in vaccine rollout due to funding constraints.

This game-changing vaccine program commences just as Global Citizens hosts Global Citizen Live in major cities including Lagos. NSSF is funding the vaccination campaign through donations mobilized from ordinary citizens, philanthropists, donor organizations, businesses, and the government.

Speaking of the partnership, the Chairman, NSSF, Babatunde Folawiyo, described the devastating impact of COVID-19 as unquantifiable. “We understand that we cannot leave this fight to end the pandemic to the government alone.” He added that public-private partnerships (PPP) are needed if the country is to succeed in the fight against the pandemic and restore social and economic normalcy within the quickest time possible.

Folawiyo explained that the collaboration between the NPHCDA and NSSF would ensure equitable distribution, application of the vaccinations across the country, and promote adequate education and awareness about the benefits of getting vaccinated.

Speaking also, Faisal Shuaib, the executive director/ CEO of NPHCDA expressed delight by “This historic partnership, following the signing of an MOU on the provision of funding that would increase COVID-19 vaccine advocacy on its safety and effectiveness and in turn increase vaccine uptake in Nigeria”.

While emphasizing that coverage will be across 133 LGAs and 513 implementing wards across the states, he assured the public that data collection would be monitored by national, state and LGA supervisors using GPS technology.

According to Aigboje Aig-Imoukhuede, vice-chairman, NSSF, “The need for private sector interventions to fill noticeable developmental gaps cannot be overemphasized. With less than three per cent of the population vaccinated, Nigeria is way below the 60 per cent minimum vaccination threshold required to achieve herd immunity.” He added that therefore NSSF has made it a priority for 2021and 2022”.

Commenting also, the Fejiro Chinye-Nwoko, general manager, NSSF, highlighted that “NSSF will collaborate with NPHCDA and the states towards achieving the programme set targets during the period of implementation.