SPEECH BY DR. FAISAL SHUAIB, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR/CEO, NATIONAL PRIMARY HEALTH CARE DEVELOPMENT AGENCY AT NPHCDA HQ, ABUJA 4TH JULY, 2017
It is with great pleasure that I welcome you all to this important occasion of the inauguration of the team for the National Emergency Routine Immunization Coordination Centre (NERICC).
The inauguration of the NERICC team today is in line with the current strategic vision of NPHCDA to revamp and strengthen Primary Health Care in Nigeria. The NPHCDA through its policies and operating guidelines is mandated to regulate and provide oversight functions in the implementation of Routine Immunization at national and subnational levels.
Although our routine Immunization is a very vital pillar in our drive to eradicate polio and other vaccine preventable diseases, our Expanded Programme on immunization efforts have suffered from low uptake resulting in Sub-optimal national coverage. These problems are surmountable, and we are gathered here to inaugurate a dedicated squad that would proffer solutions towards addressing the challenges, and accelerate the control of vaccine preventable diseases.
Several surveys but particularly the 2016 MICS/NICS report shows a national Penta3/DPT3 coverage of 44.9%. There are some states in the country with Routine Immunization coverage as low as 4%. These indicators for measuring RI performance have shown a steady decline despite huge investments and improvements in supply chain and distribution of vaccines in the last 5 years. We cannot continue to leave our children vulnerable to vaccine preventable diseases. This is why it became pertinent that a coordinating Centre is established to function with a sense of emergency.
In line with this sense of emergency that on 17th June 2017 NPHCDA (in collaboration with partners) declared a state of public health concerns on the number of unimmunized children. The aim is to re-launch, rebrand and rapidly revamping the Routine Immunization performance in the country.
To achieve quick results, this decision has been translated into the establishment of the National Emergency Routine Immunization Co-ordination Centre (NERICC). The emergency Centre is to be saddled with the responsibility of planning, coordinating and ensuring the country’s national target of 85% coverage for routine immunization is achieved and unvaccinated kids are reached through innovative strategies within the shortest possible time.
The National Emergency Routine Immunization Centre (NERICC) shall function as the governing arm for routine immunization programmes and projects within the country. It is established with a direct reporting line to the ED/CEO of NPHCDA during its first 12-18months of operation.
Specifically, the Centre is to provide a national and sub-national coordination mechanism to manage the full implementation of the routine immunization programmes, strategies and other recommendations of various expert committees towards achieving routine immunization coverage of at least 85% for all antigens at national, states and LGAs levels.
Also, the centre shall be funded by the government of Nigeria with contributions and support from donors and partners.
The specific objectives for the establishment of the NERICC include the following:
- To improve detection and responsiveness in the resolution of routine immunization gaps by establishing emergency immunization operation rooms and work stations as well as setting up a high level emergency responsiveness squad of technical teams.
- To strengthen leadership and accountability by implementing clear accountability mechanisms where people (government partner organizations) are held accountable for results and achievement of overall programme goals.
- Increase data visibility and use for action by providing clear insightful data to assess RI improvements at national and subnational levels.
- To strengthen coordination by instituting a high level coordination mechanism and framework among the technical Advisory sub-groups overseeing specific sections of the work being implemented as well as develop a tracking mechanism to assess and follow up on key action points working with partners. Similar measures will be replicated at state and subnational levels especially in low performing areas.
- To increase outreach services for immunization for traditional vaccines especially in the very low performing states
The core membership of National Emergency Routine Immunization Centre (NERICC) which is inter-Agency includes the following:-
- Programme Manager – to be appointed from NPHCDA
- Deputy Program Managers I – Head of Operations/state Desk
- Deputy Program Manager II – head of data/Logistics
- Other members include:
- Supporting staff from each of the departments of NPHCDA
- RI WHO
- RI UNICEF
- RI CHAI
- RI IVAC
- RI SOLINA
- RI SAVE THE CHILDFREN
- RI MCSP
- Civil Society Organization
- Others as it becomes applicable
The centre which will have a provision on certain occasions to run shift or 24hour service as the case may be shall have a full complement of dedicate support staff working on a full-time basis to man the affairs of the centre.
NERICC TERMS OF REFERENCE
My charge to the NERICC team is contained in its Terms of Reference (ToR) which also include specific tasks. These tasks are to be handled using a war-room approach, dedicated cross-functional capabilities for fast paced analytics, frequent synthesis and rapid decision-making in an intensive programme management manner (reference TOR attached).
The NERICC team in addition to the above responsibilities will be required to hold strategy meetings twice weekly, give weekly feedback to the Executive Director/CEO of NPHCDA and interface with the Inter-Agency Coordinating Committee (ICC) through the Core Group. It shall also interact with and provide feedback mechanism for advocacy to all stakeholders; (political/legislators/traditional/religious/opinion/leaders) using a scorecard.
I therefore urge al stakeholders and nominated members in the immunization space to give the NERICC full cooperation in carrying out its responsibility to rapidly change the narrative, reduce the burden of un-immunized children and improve Routine Immunization performance in Nigeria.
On behalf of the management of NPHCDA and partners, I hereby inaugurate you all as members’ of the NERICC team and I wish you all success as you carry out noble and long awaited intervention in the health sector.
Thank you and God bless.