Covid-19: Nigeria launches new vaccination strategies

Edward Samuel, Abuja

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The Nigeria’s Presidential Steering Committee on COVID-19 and the Federal Ministry of Health through the National Primary Health Care Development Agency has launched new strategy on Covid-19 vaccination, SCALE 3.0.

The official flag off SCALES 3.0 which took place in Abuja the nation’s capital is an evidence-based update that fixes the bugs in SCALES 2.0 and uses human-centered demand generation design to address low COVID-19 risk perception in the country.

The strategy retains integration of COVID-19 vaccination with other PHC services, but uses an implementation approach that seeks to address bottlenecks on service delivery, communication, accountability, logistics, EMID and supportive supervision from bottom-up and state specific contexts.

Speaking during the official launch of the new Covid-19 strategies, the Secretary to the government of the Federation, Mr. Boss Mustapha said Nigeria has continued to experience changes in the factors that influence demand and uptake of COVID-19 vaccines.

He said: “These changing situations are not uniform across the country. They vary from state to state, and therefore require continuous review of our strategies for promoting demand and ensuring vaccine access and accountability.”

Mr. Mustapha said that earlier in February 2022, the National Primary Health Care Development Agency launches optimized SCALES 2.0 strategy, which has proven to be effective in ramping up COVID 19 vaccination coverage;

He said the proportion of fully vaccinated Nigerians is still low when compared to the set target. The present record of only 24.4% of the total eligible population of fully vaccinated as at August 3 2022 leaves much to be desired.

We should not lower our guard or give in to complacency as the virus is still very much around and can mutate. We must encourage all around us to get vaccinated. Let us also, not relent on observing the non-pharmaceutical measures – wear the mask, keep physical distance and wash our hands regularly. Until we have vaccinated at least 70% of eligible Nigerians to achieve herd immunity, no one is safe. Like HIV, COVID-19 NO DEY SHOW FOR FACE,” he added.

The Minister of Health Dr Osagie Ehanire said the Federal Government has through the National Primary Health Care Development Agency (NPHCDA) deployed several strategies including the optimized SCALES 2.0 strategy to ramp up integrated COVID-19 vaccination and Primary Health Care services across the country.

Consequently, our vaccination effort has scaled up significantly. However, the total performance still leaves much to be desired. As of 3rd August 2022, only 24.4 percent of the total eligible population has been fully vaccinated. Only 3 states (Nasarawa, Jigawa and Kano) have vaccination coverage of over 50 percent, leaving 34 states performing sub-optimally in terms of COVID-19 vaccination coverage. Hence, the need for the team to refine the current SCALES 2.0 strategies to accelerate COVID-19 vaccination. He added.

Dr Osagie said the SCALES 3.0 strategy will be anchored on an intensive 3 months campaign, performance-based incentives, optimized integrated package of services, decentralized and incentivized demand generation strategies, partner’s coordination and accountability, and state-specific context and strategies. Based on these principles, the strategy is poised to curb the spread of the COVID-19 virus and gain the desired herd immunity as quickly as possible.

The Executive Director/Chief Executive Officer of the National Primary Health Care Development Agency Dr Faisal Shuaib said as at 8th of August 2022, the number of eligible persons who are fully vaccinated currently stands at 27,703,573. Therefore, the proportion of the total eligible population that has been vaccinated in Nigeria is 25%.

Although the progress we recorded with optimized SCALES 2.0 implementation is appreciable, our strategic review showed that there has also been an increased low COVID-19 risk perception which needs to be overcome. Our disaggregated states performance analyses also revealed that there are important state-specific bottlenecks that must be addressed in their various contexts for us to see improved vaccine uptake,” he said.

Dr. Faisal Shuaib said the strategy retains integration of COVID-19 vaccination with other PHC services, but uses an implementation approach that seeks to address bottlenecks on service delivery, communication, accountability, logistics, EMID and supportive supervision from bottom-up and state specific contexts.

On the service delivery, SCALES 3.0 will operate on focused campaign mode with mobile and special teams taking vaccines to where people live and work. This will address the operational issues with the fixed posts, temporary fixed posts and mass vaccination sites that were observed in SCALES 2.0”. He added.

Dr Faisal said SCALES 3.0 will employ decentralized demand generation approaches, targeting health workers, grassroot opinion leaders/influencers, traditional leaders, religious leaders and community referrals which he said is expected to strengthen the results from our targeted advocacy, media and community engagement.

The abbreviation on SCALES 3.0 is Service Delivery, Communication, Accountability, Logistics, Electronic Management of Immunization Data, (EMID), and Supportive Supervision.

SCALES 3.0 will implement strict deployment of well-trained supervisors; on the job mentoring of vaccinators and the use of GPS to ensure that supervisors also cover not only urban areas, but rural and hard to reach communities.

 

 

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