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Published on 07/05/2022

Under the presidency of His Excellency the Prime Minister of the Republic of Niger, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, Aliko Dangote Foundation and Gavi Vaccine Alliance signed a memorandum of understanding on May 5 to strengthen routine immunization in Niger.

The official signing ceremony was attended by the Nigerien Prime Minister, Head of Government, HE Ouhoumoudou Mahamadou, the Ministers of Public Health, Population and Social Affairs, Finance, Interior and Decentralization, and representatives of technical and financial partners, including Solomon Zewdu, Deputy Director for Africa of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, Zouera Youssoufou, Executive Director of the Aliko Dangoté Foundation, Amy La Trielle, Director of Fragile and Conflict Countries at Gavi, and the Resident Representatives of WHO and UNICEF

Askaan Santé provided assistance to the technical committee for the organization of the signing ceremony both in the elaboration and validation of the MoU document, the organization of the signing ceremony (logistics, security, protocol aspects, communication, technical documents etc.) and the preparation of the Grant proposal.  

Although the EPI has made progress in recent years, Niger's epidemiological profile is still dominated by communicable diseases, particularly those that can be prevented by vaccination. Thus, despite the substantial support provided by technical and financial partners, much remains to be done to achieve the desired objectives.

It is in this context that the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundations (BMGF) and their partners Askaan Santé, Solina Heath, and Mc King consulting initiated a process with the Government of Niger in October 2021 that resulted in a situational analysis and the structuring of a multi-year plan for strengthening routine immunization supported by this signed Memorandum of Understanding.

This meeting allowed the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, Aliko Dangote Foundation and Gavi to recall the key objectives of the program in Niger, namely to improve routine immunization in the regions of Diffa, Maradi and Zinder, in order to achieve 90% immunization coverage of the target population by December 2024 and more specifically the need for adequate funding for the purchase of vaccines and the establishment of a mechanism to finance the operational costs of immunization activities, the identification and immunization of high-risk communities and zero-dose children, taking advantage of technological innovations, reducing cold chain equipment gaps through preventive and curative maintenance, strengthening monitoring/evaluation to improve decision-making and accountability through real-time data, eliminating dropouts through community engagement, building on traditional leadership systems, and above all strengthening governance and accountability through high-level political commitment

In the same vein, they reiterated their commitment to accompany Niger in its efforts to strengthen routine immunization. Roles and responsibilities were also defined, emphasizing the importance of community involvement to remove social barriers and ensure the success of the project

The Prime Minister, Head of Government, HE Ouhoumoudou Mahamadou responded in the same vein, stating that: " As you know, vaccination is a life-saving intervention at very low cost. This is why the Government is strongly committed to ensuring that immunization services are offered to all communities by making sure that all targets, wherever they are in the country, are reached with quality vaccines.

Thus, the ceremony provided an opportunity to mobilize high-level actors for the successful implementation of the program components and in preparation for the Presidential Forum for Routine Immunization Advocacy.