The world health organization (WHO) has extended Nigeria’s access to the GAVI vaccination intervention funds.
The Minister of Health, Isaac Adewole made this revelation at the launch of Eliminate Yellow Fever Epidemics (EYE), by the World Health Organization in Abuja on Tuesday.
Present at the event was the WHO Director General, Tedros Ghebreyesus, Deputy Director–General, six regional directors, and Executive Director of the WHO emergencies programmes and heads of health parastatals in Nigeria.
Speaking at the event, Mr Adewole, revealed that contrary to previous notion that Nigeria might soon graduate from receiving vaccinations from GAVI, the country has received grace of ten years to put in place mechanism to sustain immunization process.
The nation was to be automatically disqualified from benefiting from the GAVI intervention funds scheme after the country declared that it had graduated from the low income economy to the middle income economy.
The minister however said GAVI had reconsidered the country’s early graduation.
“In 2014 the minister of finance announced to the whole world that we are no longer a low income country, GAVI thus said we are going, that we have to graduate, under normal condition, we are expected to graduate within five years but given that Nigeria is just coming out of recession, we have been talking to GAVI to allow us a special favour to stretch the graduation period from five to ten years and GAVI has agreed provided we meet certain conditionality.
”This conditionality’s includes a strong commitment from the government of Nigeria to put more money in immunization and we are getting a ‘yes’ feedback from government. GAVI is giving us a ten-year period to get up and take over the immunization of our children and citizens of the country,” he said.
Tedros, at the event said the agency is collaborating with the Nigerian government to solicit for more time to graduate from GAVI intervention.
Mr. Tedros noted that many diseases could be prevented through routine vaccination and Nigeria still needs help to achieving the feat before graduating from the scheme.