Health System and EPI Program

Nigeria's public health infrastructure consists of a Federal Ministry of Health, six health zones, 37 state health ministries and about 1,300 health centers serving 774 Local Government Areas. The Federal Ministry of Health directs Nigeria's essential public and curative health functions including laboratories, disease surveillance and 53 Federal Tertiary Hospitals. The Ministry generates national health policies, plans and norms and translates national policy to state and local levels. The Department of Health Planning and Research operates the National Health Management Information System, the aim of which is to produce information for evidence-based decision making. This Unit tracks progress toward the Millennium Development Goals.

Nigeria's 36 states each have a State Ministry of Health. Among other tasks, the state ministries are responsible for recruiting and training manpower, implementing the health information system and health sectoral reforms and mobilizing and allocating child health resources within states.

Nigeria’s Expanded Program on Immunization (EPI) was launched in 1979. In 1999, it was reorganized into the National Program on Immunization (NPI) The National Primary Health Care Development Agency (NPHCDA), a para-statal institution, houses the NIP.

The state ministries of health autonomously manage state immunization programs. Immunizations are delivered to774 local government areas (LGAs).


Over the period 2006-2011, Gross National Income (GNI) in Nigeria increased from 840 US$ to 1200 US$ per capita. According to the WHO/UNICEF-Joint Reporting Form Database, Nigeria only reported government expenditures for 2006 and 2010. In 2006 Nigeria reported having a government expenditure of 89.6 million (17 US$ per surviving infant), but in 2010 this value decreased by 65.7 million (4 US$ per infant).

The Ministry annually transfers federal funds for health to the states.

View government expenditures on routine immunization for 2006-2013 updated 09/2014


Nigeria is a Federal Republic modeled after the United States, with executive power exercised by the president and with influences from the Westminster System model in the composition and management of the upper and lower houses of the bicameral legislature. However, the President of Nigeria is both head of state and head of government, and of a multi-party system. The president is elected by universal suffrage. Nigerian politics takes place within a framework of a federal, presidential, representative democratic republic, whereby Executive power is exercised by the government.

The executive branch is divided into 27 Federal Ministries, headed by a minister appointed by the President, who must include at least one member of each of the 36 states in his cabinet. The President's appointments are confirmed by the Senate of Nigeria. In some cases a Federal minister is responsible for more than one ministry (e.g. Environment and Housing may be combined), and a minister may be assisted by one or more ministers of State. Each ministry also has a Permanent Secretary, who is a senior civil servant.

The ministries are responsible for various parastatals (government-owned corporations) such as universities (Education), National Broadcasting Commission (Information) and Nigerian National Petroleum Corp (Petroleum). Other parastatals are the responsibility of the Office of the Presidency, such as the Independent National Electoral Commission, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission and the Federal Civil Service Commission.

Legislative power is vested in both the government and the two chambers of the legislature, the House of Representatives and the Senate. Together the two chambers make up the law-making body in Nigeria called the National Assembly. House of Representatives is presided over by the Speaker of the House of Representatives. It has 360 members, elected for a four year term in single-seat constituencies. The Senate is presided upon by the President of the Senate. It has 109 members, elected for a four year term in 36 three-seat constituencies (corresponding to the country's 36 states) and one seat in a single-seat constituency (the federal capital, Abuja).

Immunization-related Legislation

Chapter I, Part 1, Article 17 of Nigeria’s 1999 Constitution states: “The State shall direct its policy towards ensuring that there are adequate medical and health facilities for all persons”.

The Fourth Schedule (“Functions of a Local Government Council”), Part 3, Article 2 of Nigeria’s 1999 Constitution states: “The functions of a local government council shall include participation of such council in the Government of a State as respects the following matters ‐…(c) the provision and maintenance of health services”.

In 2012, states ratified a Child Health Act, which contains provisions relevant to immunization.

The 36 state assemblies are also empowered to draft health legislation.

View Nigeria's progress on immunization legislation here

Showcasing Nigeria's Progress in 2013

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Program Activities:

  • September 2012: Program Director, Michael McQuestion and SPO, Clifford Kamara, have undertaken an official visit to Abuja.

View All Program Activites Here