The project will provide immunisation for 100,000 children and women to support progress towards the Sustainable Development Goals with respect to health and education
Doha - 7 December 2020: Promoting healthcare and education amongst the world’s most vulnerable communities and funded by the Qatar Fund for Development, Education Above All Foundation (EAA) and Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance, have entered into a partnership agreement to launch an integrated immunisation project in Nigeria, a country with the highest percentage of unimmunised children in the world. It aims to raise immunisation coverage and ensure a healthy and prosperous future for children and families in Nigeria.
Coinciding with EAA’s ongoing education project with UNICEF and co-funded by the Qatar Fund for Development (QFFD), the immunization project will be implemented in 12 local government areas across two Nigerian states - Kebbi and Sokoto. The project aims to reach more than 100,000 women and children, and is due to be completed by 31 December 2021.
In this context, His Excellency Mr. Khalifa bin Jassim Al-Kuwari, Director General of Qatar Fund For Development, said: “The world will always be grateful for Qatar's qualitative initiatives through the Qatar Fund for Development, as it comes at the forefront of countries interested in strengthening international cooperation and partnership towards achieving sustainable development goals and critical issues of development and humanitarian priority, in particular Qatar’s continuous efforts to contribute with the international community to efforts to combat the pandemic ( Covid-19).
His Excellency noted that this support comes within the framework of what his Highness Sheikh Tamim Bin Hamad Al-Thani, the Emir of State of Qatar, That Qatar's pledge of $20 million, in support of the Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunization (Gavi), where His Highness called on the community The international community calls for joint action to ensure justice in providing the necessary medicines and medical equipment to all countries, and to support the State of Qatar to the World Health Organization in its coordination of efforts to combat the 'COVID-19' pandemic and to strengthen the global preparedness for future infectious diseases.
He added that the State of Qatar has always and ably proves that it is confident of the international community at all times, and through the various circumstances in which the international community mobilizes its energies towards any of the vital or humanitarian issues of concern to all humanity including health issues and the global crisis to combat the corona pandemic, and in this context we value the importance of the ongoing governmental and non-governmental Qatari efforts through the humanitarian initiatives that the State of Qatar emphasizes its leadership in the development and humanitarian fields.
Mr Fahad Al-Sulaiti, CEO of Education Above All Foundation, stated: “We are pleased to enter into this agreement with Gavi to provide immunisation to children and women, particularly at a time when both the right to education and healthcare have been jeopardised globally due to the COVID-19 pandemic. “
Dr. Mary J. Pigozzi, Executive director of Education Above All Foundation’s Educate A Child Programme said “Strengthening health systems directly supports increased school attendance, thereby bolstering the prospect of achieving the Sustainable Development Goals in both health and education sectors.”
“Education plays a crucial role in raising awareness of immunisation and shaping the attitudes and behaviours that can make a difference,” said Dr Seth Berkley, CEO of Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance. “We look forward to working closely with Education Above All Foundation to strengthen our immunisation efforts in Nigeria.”
In Nigeria, there are over 4.3 million unimmunised children. Similarly, there are many challenges in the country’s education system. Nigeria accounts for more than one in six out of school children (OOSC) globally. Although primary education is officially free and compulsory, an estimated 10.1 million children between the ages of 5-14 years are not in school.
Utilising an integrated approach in providing access to education and health services for marginalised communities allows each partner to build on existing investments in support of corresponding Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) for health (SDG3) and education (SDG4) with the recognition that future students are more likely to enrol and remain in school if they are healthy.
A major focus of this education and immunisation project is to foster collaboration between existing community structures within the EAA-UNICEF programme, including Mothers’ Associations, Girls for Girls Clubs, the Primary Health Centre and others, to reach children, their families and communities with vital services.
This project will adapt and roll out a system of monitoring the immunisation status of school children and their younger siblings, in addition to an e-system for individual learner tracking and reporting. It will also educate communities on the importance of immunisation and will enable local government, community leaders, health workers, teachers and children to improve immunisation and school attendance levels.
Since 2015, EAC has worked with UNICEF in Nigeria to bring out of school children to education with the aim of enrolling more than 500,000 OOSC in primary school, to improve retention rates, and strengthen the quality of teaching and education at the overall primary level.