Mr Peter Hawkins, the Country Representative, UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) in Nigeria, says the improvement recorded in the number of children immunised against diseases in the country is fantastic.
He gave the commendation on Sunday during the News Agency of Nigeria Forum in Abuja.
NAN reports that the National Immunisation Coverage Survey (NICS) 2021 revealed that 57 per cent of Nigerian children received all three doses of pentavalent vaccines.
Hawkins said that in spite of the COVID-19 pandemic, Nigeria was able to record an improvement in immunisation indices even when some other countries witnessed a drop.
He added that “the situation in Nigeria, it’s not so much where we are today, it’s where we have come from.
“In 2016, it was 34 per cent Penta three, so three, Penta vaccines for a child.
“Now it is at 57 per cent, so that improvement is fantastic.
Over the past three to four years, it increased from 50 per cent to 57 per cent.
“So, that increase is fantastic, in actual fact, given that in the middle, we had COVID and in most countries, immunisation dropped.
“In Nigeria, we put a lot of efforts, the National Primary Health Care Development Agency (NPHCDA) puts a lot of effort in maintaining importation of vaccines for routine immunisation, maintaining the structures so that they continue to provide vaccination to children and 50 to 57 per cent is a fantastic achievement.
”Hawkins, however, said that though there was measurable improvement, 57 per cent is still insufficient for a country like Nigeria, and that the indicators around child mortality demonstrates that.
According to him, the problem is in the fact that some states are performing at a high level, while some only record little improvement.
He added that “Lagos State is at 82 per cent, if I remember correctly, and they have sustained it at that level, whereas a state like Sokoto has gone from seven per cent to 11 per cent.
“Eleven per cent is the problem there.
So it’s looking at the states where immunisation is low, seeing what the fundamental problems of why and then unbottling those bottlenecks to ensure that they go up to the 57 per cent, 60 per cent and ultimately get to 80 per cent.
”He also said that there are communities with zero dose children, adding that there are some communities even in Lagos State where immunisation has not reached.
He explained that the NPHCDA, together with Global Alliance for Vaccine Immunisation (GAVI) and UNICEF have been working hard to ensure that those communities are not left behind.
He also said that continuous financing for vaccines should be enabled to ensure that the gap is closed.
For malaria vaccine for children, he said it would herald a significant change in child mortality.
He added that though the vaccine is still expensive, it will be included in routine immunisation to prevent children from dying from malaria once they become available.
“We are also coming up with malaria, that will be a significant change in the way that the child mortality is looked at.
“The vaccine is still expensive.
That new vaccine is starting to be developed and once that becomes available for children, it will change the dynamic and it’s how you include that in the routine immunisation to prevent children from dying from malaria.
”NAN reports that the 2021 World Malaria Report (WMR 2021) indicates that Nigeria contributes 27 per cent of the global malaria cases and 32 per cent of global malaria deaths.
In 2021, the World Health Organisation (WHO) announced its recommendation of widespread use of the RTS,01 (RTS,S) malaria vaccine among children in sub-Saharan Africa and in other regions with moderate to high P.
falciparum malaria transmission.
The recommendation was based on results from a pilot programme in Ghana, Kenya and Malawi that reached more than 900,000 children since 2019.Though the malaria vaccine is still under review, the global target of the World Health Organisation is to reduce the incidence of the disease by at least 30 per cent by 2030.
The Minister of Health, Dr Osagie Ehanire, has urged traditional rulers to strive to ensure Primary Health Care (PHC) service delivery and penetration of COVID-19 vaccination in the South-East. Ehanire made the appeal while inaugurating tthe South-East Traditional Leaders’ Committee (SETLC) on Primary Health Care (Services) Delivery in Enugu on Friday.
The event was organised by the Federal Ministry of Health in collaboration with National Primary Health Care Development Agency (NPHCDA) and Enugu State Primary Health Care Development Agency (ENS-PHCDA).
The minister noted that in order to push PHC services and COVID-19 vaccination forward, there was need to mobilise traditional rulers, who were very influential in their communities.
He said the ministry would rely on the traditional rulers’s power of advocacy and the respect they command among the people to push PHC services, which included COVID-19 vaccination, to the next and desirable level.
He said with the inauguration, the traditional rulers were made more relevant to issues of PHC services and should have input and oversight to ensure that centres in their communities functioned optimally.
Gov. Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi of Enugu State said that as gatekeepers of the communities, it was necessary to get them more involved in advocacy and ensuring that the PHC services were timely delivered to the people.
Ugwuanyi, represented by the state Commissioner for Health, Dr Ikechukwu Obi, said: “With the traditional rulers coming on board, we will soon achieve and even surpass our targets in various PHC services.
” He said that the state government over the years had strived in repositioning PHC services and structures, thus making the people to easily and affordably access PHC services at each ward in the state.
The Executive Director, NPHCDA, Dr Faisal Shuaib, also said that with the inauguration, the traditional rulers had been directly connected to the PHCs. He said: “there is no greater collaboration than working and going through traditional rulers to reach the communities.
“The people in the communities and localities listen more to them and the agency sincerely believes that the PHC services target will be better and faster realised through them.
” He called on the state and the entire south-east to do more in advocating increased COVID-19 vaccination and other PHC services.
The Chairman of the SETLC, Igwe Lawrence Agubuzu, said they had been part of the PHC before now but would this time personally ensure that all PHC services run successfully in the various communities.
Agubuzu, also the Chairman of Traditional Rulers’ Council in the state, said: “We are going to redouble our efforts by putting PHC services and COVID-19 vaccination advocacy at the front burner in our various communities.
“The traditional rulers in the South-East will also ensure that the PHC centres run optimally to the greater benefit of our subjects in our communities.
“We are going to use town criers, community and even our cabinet meetings to discuss PHC services and ensure that everyone in our communities is healthy and sound.
” The Executive Secretary of ENS-PHCDA, Dr George Ugwu, noted that the inauguration was a celebration of excellent PHC services Gov. Ugwuanyi had brought to the state through sound PHC policies and massive financial support.
Ugwu said that the inauguration would surely deepen PHC services and enlarge its coverage in the region as well as the building of more modern Type-3 PHC centres.
The National Primary Health Care Development Agency (NPHCDA) has again appealed to Nigerians to get said COVID-19 vaccines.
The Executive Director, NPHCDA, Dr Faisal Shuaib, made the call during the handover ceremony of over 604,800 doses of the Johnson & Johnson (J&J) COVID-19 vaccines from telecom giant, MTN.
Shuaib, who was represented by the Director, of Disease Control and Immunisation, NPHCDA, Dr Bassey Okposen, said MTN has been a faithful partner in the country’s development.
The NPHCDA boss said inpsite of vaccine availability, many people were still hesitant to be vaccinated.
“We seem to be having the wrong information or impression that COVID-19 is no longer existing or it is no longer a problem,” he said.
“The fact is that COVID-19 is still here with us in Nigeria and elsewhere in the world, and it is a dangerous disease that can surge anytime as it has mutating properties.
” He said the donation of 604,800 doses of vaccines means a potential 604,800 fully vaccinated Nigerians.
“This is to say that MTN is wishing Nigeria the fast lane to COVID-19 recovery,” he said.
He said Nigeria has successfully vaccinated 47,172,937 persons representing 42.2 per cent of the eligible population, with the first dose.
He said 34,242,083 persons have been fully vaccinated, representing 30.6 per cent of eligible persons.
He noted that 3,678,412 of the fully vaccinated persons have received their booster shot.
Shuaib appealed to all eligible Nigerians who are yet to be vaccinated to avail themselves of current opportunities to receive their COVID-19 vaccines.
“Over 47 million eligible persons in Nigeria have so far received the vaccines.
Although these people constitute less than half of the overall population of eligible persons in the country, they cannot be wrong to have taken the vaccine,” he said.
Shuaib said the agency has since rolled out its SCALES 3.0 strategy for the COVID-19 campaign which provides a unique opportunity for a whole family to seek protection against vaccine-preventable diseases concurrently in one package.
“This means that we are vaccinating eligible persons against COVID-19 and other diseases such as hepatitis, yellow fever, polio, measles, etc.
concurrently,” he said.
He urges parents to take advantage of this opportunity to get their eligible children vaccinated against vaccine-preventable childhood diseases as earlier mentioned.
He said with the continued support of partners and stakeholders at all levels, Nigeria will be able to attain herd immunity against COVID-19 and step up recovery in the coming months.
In her remarks, the General Manager of Regional Operation MTN, Ms Amina Dambata said the vaccines were donated based on the agreement reached with African Union to distribute vaccines to the African region.
Dambata said the J&J vaccines would get to those in hard-to-reach areas within the country.
“I’m pleased on behalf of MTN to donate these vaccines today,” she said.
The News Agency of Nigeria, reports that there are three approved or authorised vaccines in Nigeria used to prevent COVID-19. These are the Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna and the J&J.
These vaccines are given as a shot in the muscle of the upper arm or the thigh.
Minister of Health, Dr Osagie Ehanire, says the N10 billion earmarked in 2020 by the Federal Government for local production of vaccines, is still intact.
The minister gave the assurance on Tuesday in Abuja, during the Ministerial bi-weekly update meeting on COVID-19 response.
Ehanire said that the country had found partners to import the technology needed to produce the vaccines.
“We are as prepared as we can be, we are also pursuing capacity to produce vaccine biotech.
“Visitors from the Serum Institute of India are going to be technical partners of Bio-Vaccine Nigeria Limited.
“Nigeria is a 49 per cent shareholder in a company called Bio-Vaccine Nigeria Limited, and the bio-vaccine is a revival of the former vaccine plants that the Federal Government used to have.
“The private sector was invited to join and form a special purpose vehicle – a company called Bio-Vaccine.
This was conceived before COVID-19. “Now the joint venture was stalled because of the outbreak – when there was a lockdown and when nothing could move,” he said.
According to the minister, there has been a lot of delays which stalled the company’s take off.
“With the outbreak of COVID-19, all countries were looking forward to vaccines, including Nigeria.
Therefore, the aspiration to produce vaccines has not been fulfilled.
“We are working on it and I have spoken with one of the members of the board of bio-vaccine.
“We are working on getting that technology to both produce routine vaccines and also COVID-19 vaccines under license and importation of the technology and partnership for it,” Ehanire said.
The minister added that local vaccine production was a priority of the President Muhammadu Buhari led government.
“This is one reason the country has been engaging partners of interest in actualising this very important project,” he said.
Meanwhile, the Director, Disease Control and Immunisation, National Primary Health Care Development Agency (NPHCDA), Dr Bassey Okposen, emphasised the importance of COVID-19 vaccination across the country.
Okposen said that over 70 million COVID-19 vaccines have so far been administered to Nigerians.
“As of Sept. 12, in 36 states of the Federation and the FCT, about 33. 8 million of total eligible persons targeted for COVID-19 vaccination are fully vaccinated.
“12.9 million of total eligible persons targeted for COVID-19 vaccination are partially vaccinated,” he said.
The director, however, said millions of children in the country still miss out on basic childhood vaccines every year and urged parents to get their children vaccinated.
“Getting your child vaccinated is the best way to give every child a healthy start to life and protect against preventable diseases from birth to old age,” he said.
The National Senior Citizen Centre (NSCC) says its working with WHO, National Primary Health Care Development Agency (NPHCDA) and Nigerian Governors Forum (NGF) to provide integrated health care to older persons across the country.
The Director-General, NSCC, Dr Emem Omokaro, said in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria that the collaboration involved training of community health extension workers.
Omokaro spoke at the sideline of the debriefing meeting by Dr Claudia Mahler, UN Independent Expert on the Enjoyment of all Human Rights of Older Persons in Abuja.
“We are able to form cluster relationships because aging is inter-sectoral and multi-sectoral.
“So we are working on social security and protection with government Ministries, Departments and Agencies.
“We have mainstream older persons into the Grants for Vulnerable Groups, we now have stakeholders engagement which has traditional fathers, faith based-organisations and experts.
“We have signed an agreement with NPHCDA, the Secretariat of NGF and WHO.
We are working together to ensure that integrated primary health care is taken to the older persons.
“And by extension to the community through training for community extension workers,” Omokaro said.
On Mahler’s visit, she said it was to strengthen efforts in the protection of human rights of older persons in the country.
She explained that the UN expert would make recommendations on gaps for proper care of older persons, so as to boost Nigeria’s global age watch index.
“We have an excellent policy framework.
In fact, we are on top in the area of engagement mechanism,” she said.
The official thanked President Muhammadu Buhari and the Minister of HumanitarianAffairs, Hajiya Sadiya Umar Farouq, for their support.
Omakaro said Mahlers interacted virtually with stakeholders in Benue, Lagos, Oyo and others across the country, and was appraised of government’s extensive commitment to build capacity in terms of human resources and structure.
Similarly, Ms Moradeke Adelakan, from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, said Nigerian Government has done a lot regarding issues of older persons.
“I am very happy to report to my superiors and we will take all the information we have at the various UN engagements to tell the Nigerian story.
“We appreciate our older persons and we are willing to learn and support, we would also like to emulate the good effort both at the government and primary level,” Adelakan said.
Vice President Yemi Osinbajo says Federal Government’s efforts at tackling malnutrition and its attendant challenges are beginning to take shape.
Osinbajo’s spokesman, Laolu Akande, in a statement on Thursday in Abuja, said the vice president chaired a virtual meeting of the National Council on Nutrition.
The vice president said that nutrition specific budget estimates were likely to be included in the 2023 Appropriation Bill. “We are at a point where we can move the needle especially with the creation of nutrition departments in line ministries and ensuring that we get nutrition on the budget line and it is actually done properly.
”Osinbajo said that the council with the approval of the president had ensured that nutrition departments existed in several Ministries, Departments and Agencies.
He listed Ministries of Health, Agriculture, Humanitarian Affairs, Women Affairs, Information and Culture, Industry, Trade and Investment, National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC), and National Primary Health Care Development Agency (NPHCDA), among others.
During the meeting, presentations by the Ministry of Budget and National Planning and Nigerian Governors Forum were made on the implementation of the National Multi-Sectoral Plan of Action on Nutrition particularly on the funding of nutrition activities in the country.
“We intend to follow up on all of these especially in the coming days, working with the relevant Ministers and the Governors Forum.
“And an important point that was made in the presentation earlier was that we need to do a chart of account.
It is really important,” he said.
The meeting had in attendance, Minister of Science and Technology, Sen. Adeleke Mamora, Minister of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development, Hajiya Sadiya Umar-Farouq, and the Head of Civil Service of the Federation, Dr Folashade Yemi-Esan.Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Budget and National Planning, Mrs Olusola Idowu, Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Finance, Mr Aliyu Ahmed, and the Director General of the National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC), Prof. Mojisola Adeyeye, also attended.
Council members of the Board of Trustees Chairman, Nutrition Society of Nigeria, Sanusi Lamido Sanusi, Chief Executive Officer, Aliko Dangote Foundation, Ms Zouera Youssoufou; representatives of civil society and development partners, among others also attended.
The Enugu State Government says it is set for a massive yellow fever vaccination as a proactive measure to ensure residents of the state are protected from the reemerging disease.
Dr George Ugwu, Executive Secretary of the Enugu State Primary Health Care Development Agency (ENS-PHCDA), told newsmen in Enugu on Tuesday that the state had not recorded any fresh case but had taken far reaching proactive measures.
Ugwu said that vaccination would be done before the end of September, as the state was not relenting in its health responsibility even as neighbouring states had recorded some sporadic fresh outbreaks.
The Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) via its official website on Sept. 4, had announced 14 deaths in 10 states from suspected cases of yellow fever between January and July. NCDC said the affected states included Abia (one), Bayelsa (one), Benue (one), Imo (one), Kaduna (one), Katsina (two), Kebbi (one), Taraba (two), Yobe (one) and Zamfara (three).
Ugwu said that before now, the state through the ENS-PHCDA, had put its ward and council area disease surveillance officers on alert as well as re-sensitised them to symptoms to watch out for in any suspected case.
He said that with a clear cut experience on how contagious and dreaded the spread of the disease can be, the agency had done national and state level training for vaccination workers in preparation for the vaccination.
The executive secretary said that the agency would conduct the training for council and ward vaccination workers before administering the exercise in nine council areas for a start.
According to him, about a year and half ago, there was an outbreak of yellow fever in some council areas in the state and government responded quickly and by God’s grace, it was totally kicked out.
It didn’t resurge again.
“Rising from that, we have been planning to make sure that it does not rear its ugly head or re-emerge in the state again.
“It was also anticipated that an outbreak is going to happen in the country and without waiting for the sporadic outbreaks to be announced, we have already planned that this month, there is going to be an outbreak response.
“So, we are hoping that it is going to go through all residents of the state by carrying it out in the 17 council areas of the state.
“But we are starting with the first nine states, which were carefully selected and mapped out by the agency, the National Primary Health Care Development Agency (NPHCDA) and other health partners.
“However, we are still persuading the NPHCDA and other partners to see that we also involve the remaining eight local governments in quick succession, to make it statewide and all encompassing.
“This is our grand proactive design to ensure it does not resurge again in the state,” he said.
Ugwu said that the vaccination would be done with that of measles vaccination simultaneously in the state.
He thanked Gov. Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi for his support for the vaccination and the agency as well as NPHCDA, World Health Organisation (WHO), UNICEF, others for their “great partnership” for the exercise.
The WHO said that yellow fever was an acute viral haemorrhagic disease transmitted by infected mosquitoes.
The “yellow” in the name refers to jaundice that affects some patients.
The symptoms of yellow fever include fever, headache, jaundice, muscle pain, nausea, vomiting and fatigue.
A small proportion of patients who contract the disease develop severe symptoms and approximately half of those die within seven to 10 days.
In a bid to deliver quality healthcare services to Nigerians, the Federal Government has expressed determination to revitalise Primary Healthcare Centres (PHCs) in every ward across the country.
Dr Faisal Shuaibu, the Executive Executive Officer, National Primary Health Care Development Agency (NPHCDA) made this known to newsmen on Monday in Ibadan.
The News Agency of Nigeria reports that Shuaib was in Ibadan on an inspection visit to few PHCs in Oyo State.
Shuaibu said that Federal Government has renovated over four thousand PHCs in the last four years of President Muhammadu Buhari-led administration, adding that government would revitalise the PHCs. He said government would also ensure that health workers embark on periodic training so as to have capacity to deliver quality healthcare services to Nigerians.
“Federal Government has renovated over four thousand PHCs in the last four years of President Muhammadu Buhari-led administration.
We will revitalise the PHCs. “We will ensure that health workers embark on periodic training so as to have capacity to deliver quality healthcare services to Nigerians.
“We are doing better than how it was few years ago; our ambition is to have at least one functional PHC per political ward across the country,” Shuaibu said.
He said no matter the huge amount expended on buildings in the health sector, it could not be enough, except revitalising the PHCs. Shuaibu said that the PHCs would be revitalised by recruiting well trained health workers, better pay for workers, security and putting in place infrastructure.
He said healthcare of Nigerians was the priority, adding that their effort was to ensure Nigerians were well treated with dignity and compassion whenever they access the facilities.
Shuaibu said that Nigerians must be respected, given medication and managed well to recover from their illness.
” He decried shortage of health workers in PHCs across the nation, urging state governors to increase numbers of health workers in PHCs for adequate primary healthcare delivery system.
Shuaibu said that there was need for adequate human resources to have well trained and respectful personnel to attend to people at various health centres.
He said they needed to improve the quality of healthcare in the PHCs, adding that this was the reason why they were working with the state governors, commissioners and traditional rulers.
Shuaibu commended the efforts of the state government, particularly the executive secretary of Oyo State Primary Health Care Development Board and others in the health ministry for providing adequate immunisation.
“Looking at the data, Oyo State is one of the best performing state when it comes to the stage 3.0 roll out of the integrated COVID-19 campaign, which was launched in Abuja three weeks ago.
“We are very proud of the work going on here.
We shouldn’t only look at what is not working, we should also look at what is working well.
“We are here today to encourage them and commend them for the outstanding work they have been doing as well as tell them that Nigerians appreciate them,” he said.
Also, Dr Bode Ladipo, the state Commissioner for Health, described the visitation as an attestation to the efforts of the state government toward affordable healthcare delivery.
Ladipo said that the state government was currently working on the renovation of over 351 PHCs across the state.
The commissioner said that all the PHCs shall become fully operational by the end of the present administration.
He said that people have been enjoying easy access to affordable healthcare services now at their door steps.
The World Health Organization (WHO) has called on the Federal Government to strengthen routine immunization to protect more than 24,000 babies born daily, to receive all vaccines scheduled for the first two years of their lives.Dr Walter Kazadi Mulombo, WHO Country Representative, Nigeria, made the call at an event to commemorate the 2022 African Vaccination Week (AVW) in Abuja.It was organised by the National Primary Health Care Development Agency (NPHCDA).The News Agency of Nigeria reports that AVN is an annual event celebrated during the last week of April in synchronisation with other WHO Regions and World Immunization Week (WIW).The goal of the AVW is to strengthen immunization programmes in the African Region by increasing awareness of the importance of every person’s (particularly every child and woman) need and right to be protected from vaccine-preventable diseases.The over-arching slogan of AVW is “Vaccinated Communities, Healthy Communities”.However, to commemorate this year’s AVW, Nigeria hasa adoptedthe theme “Long Life for All – Vaccinate for Healthy Living”.Mulombo said that he was aware of the Nigeria Strategy for Routine Immunisation and Primary Health Care Systems Strengthening (NSIPSS) 2.0. It focuses on drastically reducing the unimmunised in zero-dose children by the end of 2024. “I want to therefore appreciate the timely introduction of the Immunization Performance Recognition Awards, given the symbolic impact it would provide in ensuring that sub-national leaderships drove the enabling factors required for high and sustained immunization coverage,” he said.The WHO Rep. assured Nigerians of its continued commitment to the agenda of PHC revitalisation, immunization systems strengthening and interruption of the cVPDV2 outbreak in the country.“I am very confident with the strategies adapted and we will continue to sustain eradication of WPV in Nigeria,” he added.The Representative of UNICEF Nigeria, Dr Eduardo Blanco, UNICEF Nigeria Chief of Health, said the hard work, perseverance and dedication of the frontline health workers, including doctors, nurses, midwives and volunteers working to provide health and immunization services to Nigerians, was astonishing.“I have seen the hard work, efforts, commitment and perseverance of health workers at all levels; I have witnessed community volunteers working tirelessly in their communities.“I have seen health workers working 247 to provide services to women and children And I have observed the leadership, commitment and sound technical knowledge of NPHCDA and Federal Ministry of Health staff at all levels,” Blanco said.Dr Melissa Freeman, Rep. USAID Nigeria, said as Nigeria celebrated, it must not forget to continuously emphasise that vaccines and hand washing remained the most effective public health measures for disease prevention and control.Freeman said the country had made progress in improving routine immunization and reaching zero doses and under-immunized children.“It is my earnest hope that we continue making progress until we can globally eliminate more than just smallpox.“USAID Routine Immunization programmes are implemented across 16 states, including humanitarian settings.She said the polio programmes provided support since 1998, contributing to the wild polio eradication three years ago.“At the same time, USAID supported routine immunization and global health security efforts to strengthen surveillance and response to newly emerging diseases,” she said.She, however, said she looked forward to the outcomes of USAID’s $33.3 million support for the SCALES 3.0 COVID-19 vaccination acceleration across 36 states and the FCT.According to her, that would help ensure shots in arms for the U.S. Government donation of over 48 million doses of COVID-19 vaccine.Meanwhile, on the sideline of the event, the Breakthrough ACTION Nigeria (BA-N), with support from USAID, had a soft launch of its newest COVID-19 Social Behaviour Change campaign tagged “Follow Who Know Road (FWKR)”.At their exhibition stand to commemorate the AWV, they distributed some promotional materials such as T-shirts, Face caps, Lapel pins, Bumper stickers, jotters, fliers, and danglers and also shared out different SBC materials across all programme areas, including Tuberculosis, Nutrition, Family Planning, Malaria.In the last three years, in spite of the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the health, social and economic wellbeing of Nigerians, Nigeria had continued to make significant strides by repositioning itself to deliver high-impact and cost-effective interventions through its programmes and policies.These interventions are deliberately developed and implemented through National Routine Immunization Coordination Centre (NERICC), National Emergency Maternal and Child Health Intervention Centre (NEMCHIC) and Community Health Influencers and Promoters Services (CHIPS).However, as these strides are being made towards reducing the high burden of vaccine-preventable diseases in the country, some gaps remain, especially in the areas of demand generation and funding.This prompted the need for collaboration and partnership with different stakeholders to complement government efforts.The commemoration of 2022 African Vaccination Week is an opportunity for Nigeria to galvanise action in partnership with relevant stakeholders.This will draw National and Global attention to the importance of immunization as most cost-effective public health intervention for “long life and healthy living”.NewsSourceCredit: NAN
The Federal Government has rewarded 15 states of the federation for their outstanding performance on routine immunisation and COVID-19 response.
The awards were given through the National Primary Health Care Development Agency (NPHCDA).
The Chairman, Presidential Steering Committee (PSC) and Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), Mr Boss Mustapha, said the awards were meant to recognise those who made remarkable contributions to immunisation in the country.
The News Agency of Nigeria, reports that the award was organised to commemorate the 2022 African Vaccination Week (AVN).
AVN is an annual event celebrated during the last week of April in synchronisation with other World Health Organization (WHO) Regions and World Immunisation Week (WIW).
Mustapha said overcoming the misconceptions that followed vaccination was part of why the country had engagements with stakeholders and partners to promote vaccination uptake across the nation.
The SGF said this was further strengthened by conspiracy theories, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic.
“At the peak, our traditional religious leaders who are community gatekeepers were not left out in the struggle.
“They invested their energy and time in mobilising the communities for the uptake of our health workers, some of whom we have lost along the way.
He said they moved around the communities from house to house to ensure that every eligible child received vaccines and was protected against vaccine-preventable diseases.
“We are here together today to reward excellence or excellent performance by individuals and states that have encouraged the vaccination in their states,” he said.
According to him, While it is safe to mention the impressive decline of death arising from COVID-19 due to the ongoing vaccination.
” We should not rest yet as the virus is still very much with us.
” The SGF said that the COVID-19 virus mutated and that made it more dangerous, calling on Nigerians to take all precautions.
“I had the privilege some couple of weeks ago, along with the emir of Argungu, the health minister, and those that attended the launch of the SCALES 3.0 to take our second booster doses of COVID-19 vaccines.
“That guarantees that the vaccine is safe and efficacious.
“So I would ask every one of you here that have not availed themselves to take the booster doses and first be prepared to take that second because COVID-19 is not in a hurry to go.
“Most of this is to encourage all around us to get vaccinated as a matter of priority,” he said.
According to Mustapha, “as of Monday, from the records I have, we have about 43 million doses of different brands of vaccines in our cold storage facilities.
“So there is no vaccine shortage, what we have probably is vaccine hesitancy and as long as we do not get ourselves and our loved ones across the nation in our villages and our communities vaccinated, we have a long way to go.
“This is where I will continue to appeal to our traditional institutions because they are close to our people,” he said.
Meanwhile, the Sultan of Sokoto, Sa’ad Abubakar III, said Vaccination had made an important contribution to the decreased incidence of numerous infectious diseases and associated mortality.
The Sultan was represented by the Chairman of the Northern Traditional Leaders Committee on Primary Health Care Delivery (NTLC), and Emir of Argungu Alhaji Samaila Mera. He said that as traditional rulers, they would continue to collaborate with their communities to ensure that they take advantage of the health programmes to improve their health outcomes.
The states awarded were Kaduna, Adamawa, Edo, Lagos, Ebonyi, Benue, Jigawa, Gombe, Cross River, Ogun, Abia, Nasarawa, Kano and Yobe. The goal of the AVW is to strengthen immunisation programmes by increasing awareness of the importance of every person’s right to be protected from vaccine-preventable diseases.
It aims at keeping immunisation high on the national and regional agendas through advocacy and partnerships, and promotes the delivery of other high-impact life-saving interventions.
The AVW provides opportunities for countries to strengthen the delivery of immunisation services and draws attention to the progress made towards ensuring access to basic life-saving vaccination across the continent.
The over-arching slogan of AVW is “Vaccinated Communities, Healthy Communities”.
However, to commemorate this year’s AVW, Nigeria has adopted the theme “Long Life for All – Vaccinate for Healthy Living”.