Vaccine Procurement: Japan Supports Nigeria with N18.6bn Loan

Vaccine Procurement: Japan Supports Nigeria with N18.6bn Loan

• FG to develop new PHC policy

FREEPRESS — The Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) is to support the Nigerian government with a loan of N18.6 billion for vaccines to be procured through UNICEF. The loan is to be re-paid over a period of 20 years, with a grace period of seven years. Nigeria’s outgoing JICA’s Country Chief, Tetsuo Seki disclosed this while presenting evidence of the loan to the chief Executive of the National Primary Health Care Development Agency, (NPHCDA), Dr. Ado Muhammad in Abuja.

According to Seki, the loan’s agreement was signed last year by Nigeria’s FINANCE Minister, Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala and JICA’s leadership.

He disclosed that apart from the loan’s package, JICA had supported Nigerian’s immunisation programmes in the last 10-years to the tune of $100 million.
In his response, NPHCDA Executive Director, Muhammad expressed Nigeria’s gratitude to JICA not only on polio eradication but also for routine immunisation. He assured JICA’s leadership that the loan will be used most efficiently for the purposes intended.

Saki is expected to leave Nigeria at the end of April while Mr. Hirotaka Nakamura is now in charge.

Also, the federal government is to develop a holistic Primary Health Care policy to further reinforce the thrust of the National Health System which will recognise PHC as its cornerstone.

The Executive Director, NPHCDA, Dr. Muhammad disclosed this on Saturday during a parley with forum of States’ Primary Health Care Boards. The executive director disclosed that a steering committee has already been set up to develop the holistic national PHC policy following a ministerial approval given to the agency.

Muhammad who expressed great delight at the formation of the new forum called for representation of the forum of the States’ Primary Health Care Boards in the steering committee.

He recalled efforts made to encourage each state to establish State Primary Health Care Board in preparation for easy implementation of the newly passed National Health Act.

According to him, 30 states now have their States Primary Health Care Boards in place, with Taraba State as the last of such states. He disclosed that henceforth, the agency and members of the forum would continue to collaborate in order to foster common front primary healthcare system.

In his remark, the spokesman for the forum, Dr. Joseph Kumba said the new forum began with four member States last year and now has 11 member States.
The States are Benue, Gombe, Kebbi, Adamawa, Bayelsa, Lagos, Enugu, Abia, Kano and Zamfara States.

Kumba gave the assurance that other States’ Primary Health Care Boards would be in attendance at the next meeting of the forum, scheduled to hold in Adamawa in June this year. (ThisDay)

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