The Nigerian government on Monday launched the ‘T. E. A. C. H Strategy’ to ensure the effective roll-out of COVID-19 vaccines when they finally arrive the country.
T.E.A.C.H. is an acronym for a five-point strategy developed by the vaccination implementing arm of the Federal Ministry of Health, the Minister of Health, Osagie Ehanire, said while speaking at the launch in Abuja.
“T: Traditional method of vaccinating target populations using desk review of available data sources, identifying the vaccination sites and rolling out; E: Electronic self-registration for health workers and the public; a link which provides an online form will be provided; A: Assisted electronic registration; C: Concomitant e-registration during walk in to fixed sites/health facilities; H: House-to-House registration using volunteers for additional push to rapidly increase the e-registration.”
Mr Ehanire said the launch of T.E.A.C.H and Electronic Management of Immunization Data (EMID) will ensure the smooth rollout of the COVID-19 vaccination campaign across the country.
He said the strategy utilises all the benefits of traditional, electronic, assisted and concomitant house-to-house registration to optimise the use of innovative technology.
He noted that the EMID is a homegrown strategy critical to addressing challenges with integrity and quality data and ultimately, primary health care data.
“Our goal is to introduce COVID-19 vaccine in a phased and equitable manner, based on advice of the WHO 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,” he said.
Nigeria is expected to receive about four million doses of the AstraZeneca vaccines on Tuesday through the COVID-19 Vaccines Global Assess Facility (COVAX), the Chairman of the Presidential Task Force (PTF) on COVID-19, Boss Mustapha, said.
COVAX is a World Health Organisation-backed programme set-up to divide about two billion doses of vaccines across 92 low-and middle-income countries.
The delivery of the AstraZeneca vaccines is part of an overall 16 million doses planned to be delivered to Nigeria in batches over the next months.
Ghana on Wednesday, received 600,000 doses of the AstraZeneca vaccines, making it the first country to benefit from the COVAX programme. Ivory Coast also received over 500,000 doses of the Oxford-Astrazeneca COVID-19 vaccine on Friday.
In his opening remark, the Executive Director of the National Primary Health Care Development Agency (NPHCDA), Faisal Shuaib, said Nigeria has provided an e-registration link to enable eligible Nigerians register for the COVID-19 vaccination.
Mr Shuaib said this will ensure individuals obtain their pre-vaccination numbers and schedule the date and time to receive the vaccine.
“To register for COVID-19 vaccination, visit our website nphcda.gov.ng and click on ‘COVID-19 Vaccination e-registration,” he said.
He noted that the vaccine roll-out will be in four phases.
“The first phase of the roll-out of the COVID-19 vaccine would target health workers, frontline workers, COVID-19 rapid response team, laboratory network, policemen, petrol station workers and strategic leaders.
“Phase 2 – Older adults aged 50 years and above. Those with co-morbidities aged 18 – 49 years of age.
“Phase 3 – Those in states/LGAs with high disease burden and who missed phases 1 and 2.
“Phase 4 – Other eligible population as vaccines become available.
“They will need to be scheduled for the vaccination by filling the EMID and those who are not health workers will be made aware of when they can get their turn,” he said.
Mr Ehanire noted that the ministry has placed emphasis on the various pillars of overall response strategy in the country.
“From community engagement and risk communication, to improving COVID-19 case management, to maintaining routine and essential medical services, to providing more timely physical, and eventually financial access to healthcare service, during personal health emergency, so that we do not suffer decline in other areas of healthcare, and now to access for all eligible Nigerians to vaccine administration,” he said.
He said with all of the strategies already in place, Nigeria is inching closer to gaining control of the pandemic.
The minister urged all stakeholders to have faith in the government’s plan and align with the initiatives born of years of experience in the immunization space.
In his remarks, the WHO country representative,
Walter Mulombo, noted that the country has led an exemplary response to the COVID-19 pandemic with the launch of the strategy.
“On behalf of the WHO and all development partners, I wish to congratulate all Nigerians for this important milestone,” he said.
Nigeria has recorded over 150,000 COVID-19 cases and over 1,900 deaths from the virus.