By Ushang Ewa
With a less than 2 years to exit, the European Union Support to Immunization Governance in Nigeria (EU-SIGN) formally launched in Cross River State, Tuesday after 5 years of operating in the state and spending 41 million Naira to support routine immunization activities.
The Head of the EU delegation to Nigeria and the ECOWAS, Ambassador Michel Arrion stated this while addressing attendees at the launch ceremony held at Tinapa in Calabar where he described the official flag off as “A demonstration of good leadership and commitment to improved health status of women and children.”
Represented by the EU program manager on Health, Nutrition and Resilience Dr. Anthony Ayeke, Ambassador Arrion who lauded the state government for implementing the State Primary Health Care Development Act said the EU SIGN project aimed at contributing to the “Reduction of childhood morbidity and mortality due to Vaccine Preventable Diseases in Nigeria through improved governance in the health sector”, adding that, “It is a 7 year 63.5 million Euros project with two components” which he said consisted of a EUR 33.5 million component for support to routine immunization in 23 states and a EUR 30 million component to support Polio Eradication nation-wide and handled by the WHO.
Disclosing that about 41 million Naira representing about EUR 121,000 has been spent in Cross River, Arrion listed out activities sponsored to include capacity training, supply of immunization equipment at NGN28 million (or EUR84,000), provision of computer systems at NGN1.6 million (or EUR5,000) and the provision of one four wheel drive transport vehicle at NGN10.4 million (or EUR31,000) among others.
Cross River Governor, Senator Ben Ayade in his address expressed gratitude that the EU had chosen Cross River State for the EU-SIGN project after the closure of the EU-PRIME program in 2009.
Ayade who was represented by his deputy, Professor Ivara Esu said that; “I am very delighted to learn that EU-SIGN has been carrying out several activities in our state since the inauguration of the project at the federal level.”
He called on them to “Complete some of the uncompleted projects in our state. There are renovation of state cold store, and repair of CCE at the state CCE” and pledged that the state “Will continue to require help to establish our infant State Primary Health Care Development Agency while bringing primary health care under one roof. We hope you will be there and continue to answer us when we come knocking at your gate.”
Also, the Director General of the Cross River State Primary Health Care Development Agency lauded the EU for their continuous support to routine immunization governance in the state since 2004 and called on them to assist the state in certain areas.
“I want to respectfully remind EU-SIGN to complete the renovation of our state cold store, commission contractor or consultant to repair faulty cold chain equipment, support meetings of Primary Health Care coordinators and CCO’s, support ISS and HF outreaches in all Local government areas and support advocacy for full implementation of Primary Health Care under one roof” Betta said.
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