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The minister said each of the hubs was centralized to serve two geopolitical locations.
The Nigerian government has commenced the construction of standard vaccine hub projects in Abuja, Lagos, and Kano states.
The Minister of Health, Osagie Ehanire, while speaking at the ground-breaking ceremony in Abuja on Thursday said the construction of the hub is part of efforts to massively expand vaccine storage capacity at the national level.
Mr. Ehanire said each of the hubs was centralized to serve two geopolitical locations and decentralized to timely response to increasing vaccine demands.
He explained that Nigeria is a large country with a continuously increasing population coupled with the introduction of new and essential vaccines.
He said this requires the country to have sufficient storage space for vaccines and injection materials for efficient implementation of its immunization program.
The minister said the supply chain challenges highlighted by the COVID-19 vaccination effort also underline the need for a massive expansion of storage space which “will confer a measure of resilience in the system.”
“In recognition of the need for resilience in the system, the country, following detailed analysis, decided on a system redesign which includes the construction of three mega stores at the national level, deployment of optimized cold chain equipment at the health facilities, an efficient distribution system and the deployment of an electronic logistics management information system to provide visibility across the supply chain,” he said.
He noted that the ground-breaking ceremony is a significant milestone of the system redesign journey. “I consider it a privilege that I must break ground for the construction of this vital piece of infrastructure for the country’s immunization program.”
The 3-Hub project is an initiative led by the National Primary Healthcare Development Agency (NPHCDA) that would accommodate needed vaccines through 2035.
At the event, the Executive Director of NPHCDA, Faisal Shuaib, explained that the hub would improve the immunization logistics network and vaccine storage capacity in the country.
Mr. Shuaib said the construction of the hubs in Abuja, Lagos, and Kano (the 3-Hub project) was strategically designed to address the challenges in the immunization supply chain.
He said there was a delay in the construction of the hubs due to a lack of adequate resources.
“Fully cognisant of the necessity for the implementation of these planned activities, we made funding provision for the Lagos Hub within a World Bank IDA Credit facility for polio eradication support,” he said.
Mr. Shuaib said funding for the Abuja Hub and the Kano Hub is being provided by the Gavi Alliance within the country’s Health System strengthening (HSS) support.
He lamented that the journey to this point has been a long and arduous one as the agency encountered delays occasioned by the need to keep upgrading the design in response to prevailing realities, with the necessary funding approvals from the Gavi Alliance and the processes required for the efficient procurement of the construction firm to handle the project.
“Here I must acknowledge the technical support of the UNICEF Supply Division in reviewing the designs of the Hubs as well as in the provision of procurement services support,” he said.