Governor Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi of Enugu State yesterday flagged off Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19) mass vaccination campaign in the state.
Gov. Ugwuanyi also used the occasion to launch the Basic Healthcare Provision Fund Programme Implementation in Enugu State explaining that the two important and closely related programmes in the health sector were commenced together “in our frontal attack on the Coronavirus pandemic”.
Represented by his deputy, Hon. Mrs. Cecilia Ezeilo, Gov. Ugwuanyi disclosed that his administration, since the outbreak of COVID-19, has been proactively taking all the necessary measures for prompt containment of the virus including the implementation of sundry programmes designed to mitigate the negative impacts of the pandemic on the people of the state.
The governor added that the state government also carried out comprehensive upgrade and conception of the health systems “and wide deployment of social safety nets and other measures designed to reduce resulting fragilities and sustain our livelihoods”.
Stressing that mass vaccination is a global and nationwide measure adjudged by both World Health Organization (WHO) and National Primary Health Care Development Agency (NPHCDA) to effectively combat the obviously rampaging pandemic, Gov. Ugwuanyi stated that the state government through the flagship of the Enugu State Primary Health Care Development Agency (ENS-PHCDA) and Ministry of Health has commenced the mass vaccination campaign for the administration of COVID-19 vaccines for those who have not been vaccinated before.
The governor pointed out that the mass vaccination campaign targets at least 50 percent of the eligible population of Enugu State, expressing delight that ENS-PHCDA is leaving no stone unturned to achieve this target.
“Accordingly, it (ENS-PHCDA) has taken concrete steps to expand vaccination sites to at least one primary healthcare centre in every ward. It has also created vaccination sites in all our secondary and tertiary healthcare facilities in addition to 24 new mass vaccination centres, 36 mobile vaccination vans and some selected private healthcare facilities designated as vaccination sites”.
Gov. Ugwuanyi who noted that ENS-PHCDA has received deserved commendations from both the NPHCDA and Nigerian Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) for its sheer determination in maintaining its pace since the commencement of the exercise in Nigeria, appealed to residents of Enugu State who has not been vaccinated to get immunized against the rampaging pandemic.
Launching the implementation of the Basic Healthcare Provision Fund (BHCPF) programme, the governor hinted that the action was sequel to the approval by the NPHCDA to implement the programme in all the 291 healthcare facilities in the state, which translates to at least one per ward.
The fund will enable government to provide the additional and improved infrastructure, personnel and materials that can enhance the services provided in the healthcare facilities.
The governor further stated that Enugu was one of the few states that got all its recommended primary healthcare facilities approved for the implementation of the BHCPF programme after series of capacity assessments and verifications conducted by NPHCDA and its partners.
He therefore commended the board, management and staff of the ENS-PHCDA for their sacrifices and contributions towards the success of the verification and assessment exercises that led to the approvals received from NPHCDA, expressing optimism they would deploy the same level of dedication and hard work in the implementation of the programmes of the Fund.
In his address, the Executive Secretary of ENS-PHCDA, Dr. George Ugwu applauded Gov. Ugwuanyi for his unprecedented support to the agency, stating that “the target for this vaccination phase (mass vaccination campaign) is to get at least, 1,265,013 persons in Enugu State vaccinated by January 5th, 2022”.
Dr. Ugwu disclosed that the agency has already trained 1,942 vaccination personnel including vaccinators, e-recorders and validators, adding that “we have also inaugurated special teams of DSS and ICPC to ensure a vaccination card racketeering-free campaign”.
According to him, “We wish to leverage our good performance in the first and second phases of the COVID-19 vaccination rollout to deliver the vaccines to our eligible population. Enugu State currently leads in the Southeast and joins other few states that met all their set targets in COVID-19 vaccination rollout in the country.
“In phase 1, we vaccinated 65,703 persons with the Oxford Astrazeneca vaccine. In phase 2, we vaccinated 28,325 and 45,085 persons with Oxford astrazeneca and Moderna vaccines, respectively. In total, we have so far, vaccinated 139,113 persons out of which 50,161 are fully vaccinated with both Oxford Astrazeneca and Moderna vaccines.
“Riding on this track record, I implore the citizens and inhabitants of Enugu State to come out en masse to receive the COVID-19 vaccines which are free, safe and effective. We currently have the Oxford AstraZeneca, Moderna, and Pfizer Bionthech”.
In their separate goodwill messages, the Development Partners, WHO, UNICEF, NPHCDA, commended Gov. Ugwuanyi for showing exemplary leadership and immense support which they said have manifested in the successful rollout and coverage of COVID-19 vaccination in Enugu State.
They stressed that the Enugu State Primary Healthcare Development Agency (ENS-PHCDA) is so far leading in the entire South East in meeting the set targets in COVID-19 vaccination and expressed hope that the flagged off mass vaccination campaign will see Enugu State covering the expected target.
According to the UNICEF representative, Mrs. Maureen Okolo, “Enugu State has not allowed any of the vaccines to expire in her hands and has always consumed her assigned doses and even more. Kudos to the Executive Secretary and his team”
Other Participants at the event include Hon. Sam Ngene (House Committee Chairman on Health); State Commissioner for Health, Dr. Emmanuel Obi represented by the Director of Public Health, SMOH, Dr. Boniface Okolo; Hon. Alex Ugwu (Chairman of Enugu East LGA); Dr. T.C. Asogwa (ENS-PHCDA Board Chairman); Dr. Edith Okolo (Executive Secretary, ENS-AUHC); Sir Philip Ugwueze (NPHCDA State Coordinator); UNICEF Chief Field Officer, Ibrahim Conteh represented by UNICEF Nutrition Specialist Maureen Zubie Okolo; Dr. Ada Erinne (WHO State Coordinator), among others.