By Tobias Lengnan Dapam
As COVID-19 vaccine arrives the country today, National Primary Health Care Development Agency (NPHCDA), in collaboration with the Federal Ministry of Health(FMOH), has officially launched T• E• A• C• H Strategy for COVID-19 Vaccination.
Also launched yesterday was the Electronic Management of Immunization Data (EMID) System in the country.
Speaking at the event, Minister of Health, Dr. Osagie Ehanire,
said it was a very important activity to assure Nigerians of the readiness to roll out the COVID-19 vaccination campaign smoothly.
While explaining the TEACH approach, the minister said the strategy involves:
• 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
Ehanire said that the strategy called TEACH approach, harnesses all the benefits of traditional, electronic, assisted and concomitant house-to-house registration to optimize the use of innovative technology.
The minister said that T.E.A.C.H. was an acronym for a five – point strategy developed by the vaccination implementing arm of the FMOH and the NPHCDA, out of its many years of vaccination Implementation experience in the country.
“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.
“We in Nigeria finally have the privilege of being able to join other countries in kickstarting the immunization programme, which will prioritise, first those people most at risk of infection due to their exposure in the line of duty,” he said.
Ehanire said that vaccination with safe and effective COVID-19 vaccines was a critical part of the country’s strategy to counter the COVID-19 pandemic and stop transmission of the virus.
He said that the introduction of the electronic management of immunization data was critical to addressing challenges with integrity and quality data and ultimately, primary health care data.
According to him, No private hospital or organization has experience with handling this type of vaccine and certainly no experience in vaccine application that NPHCDA has.
He added that vaccines that were not approved by NAFDAC would be determined as dangerous, and would be seized by Customs Services and NAFDAC, who were on high alert for illegal vaccine importation.
The minister noted that in less than 24 hours, the first batch of AstraZeneca vaccines would arrive the country from the COVAX Facility and would be deployed to vaccinate.
“first our critical frontline health care workers, who are providing essential care,” he added.
On his part, the Executive Director, NPHCDA, Dr. Faisal Shuaib, while unpacking the T•E•A•C•H Strategy, said it was an Indigenous approach to COVID-19 Vaccination in the country.
Shuaib said that the country has provided an e-registration link to enable Nigerians register for the COVID-19 vaccines themselves, to obtain their pre-vaccination numbers and schedule their Preferred date and time for vaccination.
“To register for COVID-19 Vaccination, visit our website nphcda.gov.ng and click on ‘COVID-19 Vaccination e-registration.
“nphcdaict.com.ng/publicreg/ ,” he said.
The NPHCDA boss said that the first phase of the COVID-19 vaccines roll-out in the country would target frontline health workers, COVID-19 rapid response teams, laboratory network, petrol station workers and strategic leaders.
He noted that the country have between 6-8 vaccination campaigns.
“We will be bringing this experience to the COVID-19 vaccination and reduce hitches.
“They will need to be scheduled for this by filling the EMID. Those who are not health workers will be made aware of when they can get their turn.
“Those who can’t fill the EMID will be assisted, and for those who don’t have access to the EMID house-to-house registration will be carried out to get them on the database for vaccination using T.E.A.C.H,” he explained.
According to him, How COVID-19 will be rolled out, Phase 1- healthcare workers, security agents, first responders, petrol station workers, laboratory workers, and strategic political leadership.
“Phase 2 – adults aged 50 years and above and those with underlying conditions aged 18-49.
“Phase 3 – people in LGAs with high population of Covid-19 infection that missed phase 1 and 2 and Phase 4 – everybody else,” he explained.