The Cross River State Government has flagged off an optimized vaccination scheme termed “SCALE 3.0” to address poor compliance of vaccination exercise as well as accelerate integrated service delivery across the state.
In an event flagged off by the state Governor, Senator Ben Ayade in company of strategic health Implementing Partners in the state, recorded huge turn out of targeted population in a show of embrace to the deliberate health interventions over the years.
The Governor, Professor Ben Ayade who was represented by the Chairman, House Committee on Health, Hon. (Dr.) Ekpo Ekpo Bassey, in his Keynote address, noted that the SCALES 3.0 strategy will address the identified implementation gaps in SCALES 2.0 and bring about more accountability for performance, strengthen electronic data reporting and promote robust demand generation at the community levels.
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He further stated that the government has a responsibility to ensure that people are in good health and are not infected with COVID-19 as well as other diseases noting that the government has decided to maximize efforts to take vaccination closer to the people and meet their most challenging needs.
In an earlier address, Director General of the Cross River State Primary Healthcare Development Agency (CRSPHCDA), Dr. Janet Ekpenyong thanked all partners for their support and contributions to the vaccination drive in the state, adding that the SCALES 3.0 will operate more focused campaign with mobile and specialized teams taking vaccines to where people live, work and to the hard to reach areas across the state.
She further mentioned that the services of the agency will not just be in the facilities, but ensures that healthcare services will be closer to the people with assured regular sensitization, awareness and outreaches to end preventable deaths.
“Our services will not only be at the facility level, but we will ensure that we move services closer to the people. Our mobile teams will be moving from one place to the other to get many people especially those eligible to take the vaccine.
“We are also going to decentralize communication and ensure that people at the grassroots are mobilized. We will be working with all the strategic people, traditional leaders, religious leaders, and several other organizations that we can leverage to get many people vaccinated.
“We are hoping to achieve the 70% target before the end of the year and see how we can achieve herd immunity as soon as possible. This for us is an opportunity to improve vaccine coverage and ensure that as many people as possible should be vaccinated. Over 500,000 people have been vaccinated in the state, and we are hoping that we can hit the 2.2 million target before the end of 2022”.
Ekpenyong also thanked Governor Ayade for his commitment to the health sector for ensuring that every Cross Riverian is protected against COVID-19, adding that the Johnson and Johnson vaccine as well as other brands are properly stored to maintain potency and viability.
Similarly, the Executive Director, National Primary Healthcare Development Agency, Dr. Faisal Shuaib, represented by Mrs. Ifeyinwa Onwudinjo in his remarks, disclosed that only 3 states have vaccination coverage of over 50 percent thereby leaving 34 states performing sub-optimally in terms of COVID-19 vaccination coverage.
According to him, “the SCALES 3.0 strategy will enable the Federal, State and Local Government to reach every eligible population in Nigeria with COVID-19 vaccine”.
He also stressed that the SCALES 3.0 strategy will be anchored on an intensive 3 months campaign, performance-based incentives, optimized integrated package of services, decentralized and incentivized demand generation strategies, partner coordination and accountability, and state-specific context and strategies.
Also speaking at the launch, Mrs. Joy Chabo, State Immunization Officer, CRSPHCDA, stated that the SCALES 3.0 would be using a human-centered demand generation design to address low COVID-19 perceptions in the state.
She added that the strategy encourages more outreach where the vaccines will be taken to doorsteps, shops, markets, churches, schools, and every part of the state, regardless of the location.
SCALES is an acronym for ‘service delivery, communication, accountability, logistics, electronic reporting, and supportive supervision’ for the ongoing COVID-19 vaccination.
The launch had in attendance representatives from the World Health Organization (WHO), FHI360, Breakthrough ACTION-Nigeria, Heartland Alliance, kncv Tuberculosis, Foundation Nigeria, amongst others.