The Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) has said that vaccine-preventable diseases are still available in the country.
NCDC Director General, Dr. Ifedayo Adetifa stated this during an interview on Channels Television’s Newsnight on Sunday, a pre-recorded show which airs every Monday, where he highlighted the agency’s plans in addressing the issue.
According to him, Nigeria is paying the price for the low vaccination rates for a number of vaccine-preventable diseases.
This is because of a number of factors including the reluctance of citizens to make them available, particularly in semi-urban and rural areas.
The NCDC boss stated that ailments such as yellow fever, cholera and meningitis continue to take a toll on human health within the country because the momentum for vaccination was also interrupted by the arrival of the COVID-19 pandemic and that health agencies are restarting awareness campaigns.
“We have had historical challenges with vaccination coverage just as the country seems to be gaining some momentum with concurrent efforts to strengthen routine immunization and then conduct mass campaigns in response to areas to we know that are under covered,” Adetifa said.
“Of course with COVID, people were afraid of going to the hospital. There were disruptions to immunization – both routine and planned campaigns.
“What now we are seeing is that we are now paying the price for the gaps that occurred then. What we are keeping our eyes on at the NCDC is not what the headlines reflect.”
Speaking on the cholera disease in the country, Adetifa said the agency is “expecting an optic as the rains become established. Ahead of November, we are already preparing for meningitis and the next Lassa Fever again, unfortunately.”
He explained that the NCDC is equally taking measures to contain Omicron and COVID-19 ahead of the yuletide season.
Watch the full interview of Newsnight on Monday, September 19 at 9 pm.