COVID-19: Africa CAC, Mastercard Foundation Commence Saving Lives Initiative in Nigeria

Rebecca Ejifoma

The Africa Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (Africa CDC), in partnership with the Mastercard Foundation, has commenced the implementation of the Saving Lives and Livelihoods initiative in Nigeria to accelerate the COVID-19 vaccination. 

Through this partnership, the Federal Government has launched its mass vaccination campaign, SCALES 3.0.

The implementation of the Saving Lives and Livelihoods initiative will synergise the efforts of the government, Africa CDC, and other partners in increasing COVID-19 vaccine uptake. 

The implementation campaign will focus on Risk Communication and Community Engagement (RCCE), vaccine capacity, logistics, and vaccine surveillance to enable Nigeria to reach its COVID-19 vaccination target.

In the words of the Country Coordinator (Nigeria), Africa CDC Saving Lives and Livelihoods Initiative, Dr Bakary Sonko, “As the Federal Government is launching the SCALES 3.0 strategy, the African Union and Africa CDC is honoured to partner her in ensuring that the goals set out in the SCALES 3.0 strategy succeed, providing resources to the country through the Saving Lives and Livelihoods initiative.”

He outlined that the Saving Lives and Livelihoods Programme will support demand generation activities and the administration of vaccines in 11 states across the nation.

In this support, the Saving Lives and Livelihoods initiative and the National Primary Health Care Development Agency (NPHCDA) have planned to deploy 5,002 vaccination teams in 11 states, targeting to vaccinate over 1.3 million persons every week.

During the official launch of the country’s SCALES 3.0 Strategy, the Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), Boss Mustapha, harped on the need to take the vaccines to the people.

He noted that what the country is dealing with is not the shortage of vaccines but vaccine hesitancy by the people.

“Nobody is safe until Nigeria has achieved 70 per cent vaccination of its eligible population. Integrating the COVID-19 vaccination with routing immunisation will help achieve greater results and the number of people vaccinated. 

“As of 3rd August 2022, only 24.4 per cent of the eligible population are vaccinated. By our set target even as the Presidential Steering Committee, we ought to have gone beyond this.” Mustapha said. 

Nigeria’s Minister of Health, Osagie Ehanire, said the SCALES 3.0 Strategy would help to accelerate the integration of COVID-19 vaccination into routine immunization to ensure that none is done in isolation. 

He thanked all partners for their support and contribution to the vaccination drive in Nigeria. “We have a long way to go; the total performance falls short of our desired goals as only three states – Nasarawa, Jigawa, and Kano– have vaccinated over 50 per cent of their eligible population.”

Speaking also at the launch, the Executive Director of the National Primary Health Care Development Agency (NPHCDA), Dr Faisal Shuaibu, hinted that after the launch of SCALES 2.0 Strategy six months ago to ramp up integrated vaccination, Nigeria’s vaccination coverage progressed from a 17 million to 40 million. This, he said, represents over a 100 per cent increase. 

“SCALES 3.0 would be using a human-centred and generation design to address low COVID-19 perceptions in the country,” says Shuaibu.

The ultimate goal of the Africa CDC through the Saving Lives and Livelihoods initiative in partnership with the Mastercard Foundation is to accelerate the achievement of the goal set out by the African Union to have 70 per cent of the African population vaccinated against COVID-19 by the end of 2022.

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