Background: Nigeria attested to the Abuja Declaration to allocate 15% of the annual budget to health. However, current allocation is about 4.7%. This left the country extremely vulnerable to the COVID-19 pandemic.
As of December 2020, Nigeria had over 87,000 confirmed cases of COVID-19 and over 1,000 deaths according to WHO. Although vaccines were rapidly developed, Nigeria’s response was impeded by limited resources. Despite receiving 4,000,000 does of the COVID-19 vaccines and a target to vaccinate 70% of people, by December 2022 by March 2021 only 3% of the population had been vaccinated.
This paper documents the role of NSSF in mobilizing resources in support of the governments COVID-19 response efforts.
Methodology: The Nigeria Solidarity Support Fund (NSSF) was birthed in 2020, from a partnership between the Global Citizen, and the Nigeria Sovereign Investment Authority (NSIA) as an innovative platform for resource mobilization to supplement diverse efforts to mitigate the adverse economic effects of the Covid-19 pandemic on Nigerians. The resource mobilization framework is outlined below.
Collaboration: NSSF promotes partnerships and collaboration to catalyze funding and scale impact. This includes combining the expertise of GC in advocacy and resource mobilization, with the expertise of NSIA in fund management, accountability and transparency.
Local Ownership: NSSF partnerships ensure local ownership of the fund and its programs through government buy-in and also through active engagement of the general public as co-funders through their donations, or as advocates and solution drivers.
Active board: NSSF relies on an active board to raise funds through their personal and professional networks. The sources of unrestricted funding enable the organization co-design appropriate interventions with relevant stakeholders at the state and national levels.
Transparency and accountability: Board members were selected from both NSIA and GC. Financial activities are audited (internally and externally) and published, grant administration and impact evaluations are conducted by reputable 3rd party organizations such as KPMG, PwC, Allen & Overy.
Additionality: Funding support is used to scale existing nationally approved interventions and strategies.
Inclusive Grants development: NSSF co-designs grants in collaboration with national and state-level stakeholders.
NSSF raised over $2,000,000 in its 1st year of existence. NSSF leveraged on our board leadership to raise financial and technical support in the aim of building credibility, transparency, and accountability of the COVID-19 vaccinations.
With the National Primary Healthcare Development Agency, NSSF supported the scale-up of COVID-19 vaccination in 6 states across the country. Through the campaign 12,000 health workers were trained on safe immunization and 12 million people were reached with accurate communication. As of 2022, over 4.9 million people have been vaccinated. In addition to this, NSSF launched the WeNaija contest to reskill and retool youth for the post COVID-era. 120 youth were given seed funds and tools to enhance their skills. NSSF held 4 Fireside Chats, a forum for engaging the public and stakeholders in conversations to advocate for change, and NSSF published a policy brief and other editorials on COVID-19.
Conclusion: The success of the COVID-19 vaccination campaign gives an insight into what can be achieved through effective collaboration, resource mobilization, and private sector mobilization for the health sector.
Audience take away:
• The importance of creating partnerships with private and government stakeholders in project implementation to achieve greater impact.
i. The paper presents our experience as a non-governmental, non-profit organization, working with the government to increase uptake of the COVID-19 vaccines in Nigeria. People will learn that through partnerships and collaboration, it is possible to scale vaccination efforts and reach many people in a short time. The partnership between the National Primary Health Care Development Agency and the Nigeria Solidarity Support Fund shows that when organizations work together and provide financial and
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technical support, it is possible to achieve significant progress in vaccination efforts. Additionally, it highlights the importance leadership, management, and coordination in health service delivery and how this can be strengthened through effective communication and data management.
• In this partnership, the NPHCDA and NSSF worked with information available from previous experiences and built on that to drive COVID-19 vaccination coverage. Nigeria and several LMICs still struggle with poor childhood immunization coverage and the information that will be provided through this presentation will help healthcare workers design more effective programs.
ii. The grant was not implemented as a parallel project, rather it was implemented in the principle of additionality. This allowed the NPHCDA and NSSF to geometrically increase impact.
iii. Electronic real-time data management was a key part of the success and a backbone for improving data quality, accountability, and transparency, which allowed gaps to be identified and bridged on time.