By Chidinma Chukwu, Abuja.
For the effective roll out of the expected COVID-19 vaccines, federal government has launched the TEACH strategy and Electronic Management of Immunization Data (EMID).
The T.E.A.C.H. strategy is an acronym for a 5-point strategy developed by the National Primary Health Care Development Agency (NPHCDA) in collaboration with the vaccination implementing arm of the Federal Ministry of Health.
Speaking at the launch on Monday in Abuja, the Minister of Health, Dr Osagie Ehanire said T.E.A.C.H translates as:
T: Traditional Vaccination Campaign Approach;
E: Electronic Self-Registration by Eligible Nigerians;
A: Assisted Electronic Registration of Eligible Nigerians;
C: Concomitant Vaccination alongside Electronic Registration and
H: House-to-House Electronic Registration.
Ehanire said the introduction of the COVID-19 vaccine will be in a phased and equitable manner targeting front-line health workers, COVID-19 rapid response teams, laboratory network, petrol station workers and strategic leaders.
He said “We in Nigeria finally have the privilege of being able to join other countries in kickstarting the immunization programme, which will prioritise, first those people most at risk of infection due to their exposure in the line of duty, as determined by available epidemiological data. Our goal is to introduce the COVID-19 vaccine in a phased and equitable manner, based on advice of the World Health Organization and the experience we observe other countries to have made, and ultimately vaccinating all eligible Nigerians within the next 2 years, to ensure herd immunity.
“I commend the National Primary Health Care Development Agency (NPHCDA), under the leadership of Dr. Faisal Shuaib and his hard-working team, who have developed a home grown strategy to deliver this novel vaccine.
“The introduction of electronic management of immunization data is critical to addressing challenges with integrity and quality data and ultimately, primary health care data.
“I therefore urge all stakeholders, partners sub-national governments Corporate Organizations to have faith for once, in the plan that the Government is developing and align with the initiatives born of years of experience in the immunization space.
“No private hospital or organization has experience with handling this type of vaccine and certainly no experience in vaccine application that NPHCDA has. All questions can be directed to the Ministry of Health and NPHCDA, but this is not a time to work at cross purposes; it is not a time to be making private arrangements for vaccine procurement and administration” he stressed.
Also speaking, the Executive Director, National Primary Health Care Development Agency (NPHCDA) Faisal Shuaib, said the country has provided an e-registration link to enable Nigerians register for the vaccines and obtain pre-vaccination numbers and schedule date.
He urged all eligible Nigerians to take the COVID-19 vaccination when it is their turn as this is the only way the country can achieve herd immunity to stop the community transmission of this deadly virus.
The Executive Director said COVID-19 vaccination rollout to target population will come in 4 phases: “Phase 1: Health care workers, frontline workers, ports of entry (air, land, seaports), Military, Covid-19 rapid response team, labouratory network, policemen and petrol station workers and strategic leaders.
Phase 2: Older aldults aged 50 years and above, those with co-morbidities aged 18-49 years of age.
Phase 3: Those in State/LGAs with high disease burden and who missed phases 1 and 2
Phase 4: Other eligible population as vaccines become available
National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC) Director-General, Prof. Moji Adeyeye, assured that there will tracking and tracing to ensure that there is no falsification in the supply chain of the COVID-19 vaccines in the country.
Director-General, Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC), Dr Chikwe Ihekweazu said the NCDC was prepared to lead the roll out of COVID-19 vaccines in the country.
Ihekweazu, who was represented by Head of Special projects and Partnerships at NCDC, Dr Priscilla Ibekwe said his office would work in solidarity with them to ensure a successful campaign.
World Health Organisation (WHO) Country Representative, Dr Walter Kazadi, commended Nigeria for the exemplary response to the COVID-19 pandemic and its intervention strategies.