ANHEJ Seeks End To Vaccine-preventable Diseases As Buhari Reappoints NPHCDA Boss
As President Muhammadu Buhari, approves the reappointment of the Executive Director, National Primary Health Care Development Agency (NPHCDA), Dr. Faisal Shuaib, for a second and final term of four years, the Association of Nigeria Health Journalists (ANHEJ has stressed the need for the country to end vaccine-preventable diseases in the next 4 yrs.
In a statement by the president of the association, Hassan Zaggi that the re-appointment is with effect from January 10, 2021.
“Indeed, this did not take the Association of Nigeria Health Journalists (ANHEJ) by surprise considering the achievements Dr. Shuaib recorded in the past four years.”
“As journalists covering the activities of the NPHCDA and the entire health sector, we can attest to the fact that since assumption of office 2017, Dr. Shuaib brought with him a unique management style and an unprecedented experience that improved the performance of the agency.”
ANHEJ can also attest to the fact that the 4-point agenda which include closing out on polio, strengthening Routine Immunization (RI), PHC revitalization, strengthening governance and accountability introduced by Dr. Shuaib, aimed at reversing the country’s poor health indices, have yielded fruitful results.
Monitoring closely the 4-point agenda, ANHEJ discovered that governance and accountability has improved greatly at NPHCDA compared to the way Dr. Shuaib met it; RI has also improved tremendously.
The introduction of the National Emergency Routine Immunization Coordination Centre (NERICC) to work out modalities of improving RI, indeed, became a turning point in Nigeria’s immunisation coverage.
As at 2016, before Dr. Shuaib was appointed, the MICS/NICS report showed the national coverage of routine immunisation of only 33%, however, SMART survey in 2018, indicated an improvement to 57% and a further positive rise to 70.8% in 2019. This, to ANHEJ is a great feat.
Under Dr. Shuiab’s leadership, polio has become a non-issue in Nigeria and our Primary Health Centres (PHCs) are having a new look.
The ANHEJ therefore, commends the President Muhamadu Buhari-led Federal Government for such well-deserved re-appointment.
However, ANHEJ believes there is more to be done for the health sector to get to where we want it to be.
Our expectations on Dr. Shuaib in the next four years are huge- the achievement made in the area of accountability and transparency must be sustained.
One most important expectation is that, Dr. Shuaib must build on the achievement of his first tenure to attain 100% RI immunization rate in Nigeria. This is doable.
In the next four years, ANHEJ expects that all child-killer diseases including measles and other vaccine-preventable diseases are totally eradicated from Nigeria.
ANHEJ also expects that Nigerian children and mothers will get nothing short of best healthcare services in all PHCs across the country regardless of the location.
On our part, ANHEJ will continue to support, monitor and follow closely the programmes to be initiated by the NPHCDA in the next four years.
We are going to invoke our investigative skills to ensure that all lapses and areas that need urgent attention are brought to limelight so that actions are taken to address them.
We, therefore, appeal to the federal government, local and international donors and key stakeholders in the health sector to continue to support the NPHCDA for the sake of our children and mothers.