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Japan Loans Nigeria N18.6 Billion For Vaccines

Chukwuma Muanya

THE Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) is supporting Nigeria Government with a loan worth of N18.6 billion vaccines to be procured through the United Nations International Children Fund (UNICEF).This is contained in a statement from the National Primary Health Care Development Agency (NPHCDA) signed by the Assistant Director and Head Public Relations Unit, Sa’adu Salahu.

Nigeria’s out going JICA’s Country Chief, Tetsuo Seki, while presenting evidence of the loan release to the Chief Executive of NPHCDA, Dr Ado Muhammad, in Abuja, said the loan would be paid in 20 years, with a grace period of seven years.

Seki recalled that Nigeria’s Finance Minister, Dr Ngozi Okonjo Iweala and JICA leadership signed the loan agreement last year.

He disclosed that apart from the loan package, JICA had supported Nigerian’s immunisation programmes in the last 10 years to the tune of $100 million.

In his response, the Executive Director, Muhammad expressed gratitude to JICA for not only assisting in polio eradication but also for routine immunisation.

Ado assured JICA leadership that the loan would be used judiciously.

Seki, the outgoing JICA Country Chief, is expected to leave Nigeria at the end of April when Mr Hirotaka Nakamura will replace him.

Meanwhile, the Federal government is developing a holistic Primary Health Care (PHC) policy to reinforce the thrust of the National Health System, which recognised PHC as its cornerstone.

The NPHCDA Executive Director disclosed this yesterday in Abuja during a courtesy visit by a new forum of States’ Primary Health Care Boards.

The executive director disclosed that a steering committee was set up to develop the holistic national PHC policy following a ministerial approval given to the Agency.

Muhammad, who expressed great delight at the formation of the new forum, called for representation of the forum of the States’ Primary Health Care Boards in the steering committee.

He recalled efforts made to encourage each state to establish State Primary Health Care Board in preparation for easy implementation of the newly passed National Health Act.

According to him, 30 states now have their States Primary Health Care Boards in place, giving Taraba State as the last of such states. He disclosed that henceforth, the Agency and members of the forum would hold meetings for PHC review quarterly.

Earlier in his remark, the spokesman for the forum and Director, Public Health in the Benue State Ministry of Health, Dr Joseph Kumba, said the new forum began with 4 member States last year and now has 11 member States.The States are Benue, Gombe, Kebbi, Adamawa, Bayelsa, Lagos, Enugu, Abia, Kano and Zamfara States.

PUBLISHED: March 21, 2015 By Chukwuma Muanya
Copyright © Guardian NewsPapers

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