As part of approaches aimed at ensuring effective and efficient health service delivery in the State, Health Care Partners are seeking collaborations with the State Primary Healthcare Development Agency for equitable vaccines distributions.
United States Agency for International Development (USAID) teamlead, Dr Abujo Kalajuo made the disclosure in Calabar, during a courtesy visit to the Director General of the Cross River State Primary Healthcare Development Agency, Dr Janet Ekpenyong noting that, such intervention will put an end to vaccine hesitancy and stock out in the state.
He said, building an effective supply and distribution chain in Local Government Areas will promote prompt and timely access to various vaccines and present them to Cross Riverians in their most active states.
He further maintained that, all Health care Partners ought to collaborate with willing government agencies and States to ensure that a deliberate mechanism in implemented for all facilities to be covered as he commended His Excellency, Sen Prof Ben Ayade for his investment in the health sector and ensuring vaccine equity in the state . He also applauded the state for being flexible and adjusting to partner’s demand for the benefit of the state.
In her response, the Director General, Cross River State Primary Health Care Development Agency (CRSPHCDA), Dr. Janet Ekpenyong, felicitated with the group for their visit noting that the state is always willing and ready to partner with groups for the overall interest of the state and nation.
Dr Ekpenyong disclosed that, the state boast of a standard and centralized Cold Chain facility in Calabar Metropolis where we ensure vaccines are stored in their most potent form.
She noted that there are Zonal Cold chain facilities in Ikom to carter for those in the Central Senatorial District and Ogoja Store for those in the Northern District with Mini Cold Chain facilities in all 18 Local Government Areas of the state, which are well managed and maintained.
She therefore requested the group support towards vaccines carriers and refrigerators for baking ice packs to
maintain vaccine potency all the way to the last mile adding that, with the epileptic power supply in the country, the state is faced with seeking more expensive alternatives to ensure viability of vaccines all year round.
“As a state we are committed to vaccine safety, efficacy and equitable distribution, as we have our Cold chain well functional here in Calabar, and other zonal Cold chain stores for easy access by local government areas, we need the refrigerators to make sure our vaccines remain potent. She also informed the team on the plans of the state to integrate services and seeked their support to leverage on available community volunteers to serve as CHIPS Agents. She used the opportunity to intimate them on the recently launched the CHIPS program and the Basic Health Care Provision Fund programme. The CHIPS Agents will help us ensure we provide integrated services including OBR, OPV, HIV, Covid-19, etc and ensure there’s demand creation for facility utilization, especially for women during pregnancy and delivery.
Some of our major challenges are issues of data collection after vaccination, we
seek assistance in the areas of data reconciliation, health workers and volunteers training, ultra cold chain equipment installation to manage the quantity and quality of vaccines”.
She also requested for USAID to support the state with HiV testing kits as alot of pregnant women are not tested when they visit facilities for ANC. She said the state has made progress in the fight against HIV/AIDs and it will be important to sustain the gains.
Another respondent from the USAID team, Mr. Obianeri Victor (PMS – L & SC), acknowledged the Agency which has always been the first point of calls for health care service delivery and emergencies sequel to any diseases outbreak, as such, PHCs must be well equipped and vaccines put in place and stored properly properly.
Also speaking, a Deputy Director oftheAgency and HIV/AIDs focal person Mrs. Ekaette Ekpenyong, on her part also seek for support in providing HIV testing kits and help pushing of vaccines to all LGAs especially in hard to reach areas.
Mrs. Utiung, Nutrition focal person also added that nutritional supplement should be made available in all PHCs as it concerns orphan and vulnerable children and pregnant women as good nutrition leads to good health and growth.
Also, in attendance were Director, Community and Family Health SPHCDA,Mrs Sally Enyim, programme officers and Implementing Partners like Heartland Alliance, FHI 360, Breakthrough Action, CCRN, and others who in their contributions added a plus to the way forward of the State Health sector.