Bill Gates and his wife, Melinda (The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation )
Bill Gates and his wife, Melinda (The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation )

The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation is set to strengthen Nigeria Routine Immunization (RI) and the Primary Health Care (PHC) by donating a total sum of seventy-five million dollars ($75m) for the next two years.

The Federal government represented by the Honourable Minister of Budget and National Planning, Senator Udoma Udo Udoma, announced the new innovative financing agreement with the foundation yesterday 29 January 2019.

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Udoma stressed that the financing incentives will be directly invested in Nigeria’s Basic Healthcare Provision Fund (BHCPF), and used in strengthening the RI and other PHC services for the masses.

The Bill Gates Foundation will provide up to $15m periodically for five years to the Federal Government of Nigeria and the payments would be made, based on the Federal Government’s condition for routine immunisation programmes.

“Childhood immunisation is one of the most effective and cost-effective health interventions, and I can think of few better long-term investments in Nigeria’s human capital and future prosperity,” said Senator Udoma

Prior to this, the federal government through the National Primary Healthcare Development Agency finalised its Nigeria Strategy for Immunisation and PHC System Strengthening, 2018-2028 (NSIPSS), which outlined plans to spend US$1.95 billion on immunisation services over ten years via the national budget and some World Bank loan financing.

In June last year, Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance, committed to supporting the NSIPSS with extended donor financing as domestic resources scale up. During this extended transition window, international donors via Gavi will provide Nigeria with US$1 billion, on top of the US$1.95bn domestic commitment.

Together these funds will cover procurement of vaccines—the lion’s share of the costs as well as operational costs for routine and supplementary immunisation activities, and PHC system support.

Coming at a time when the nation’s revenue generation is constrained, the deal will direct new funds to Nigeria’s broader health sector even as more domestic resources are dedicated to critical childhood vaccines specifically creating a win-win opportunity for essential PHC services to grow in tandem.