We Remain Committed To Financing Our Immunisation Obligations, Says Buhari

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President Muhammadu Buhari has assured Nigerians that his administration remains committed to finding sustainable ways of financing its immunisation and vaccination obligations.

The President gave the assurance on Tuesday at the State House in Abuja, while receiving in audience members of the Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunisation (GAVI), led by Dr Seth Berkley.

He thanked GAVI for its over one billion dollar support to Nigeria since 2001, especially through the provision of vaccines to millions of people across the country, noting that “we have experienced various fiscal and security challenges that have hindered our ability to fully finance the vaccines by 2021 as originally planned.

“I am, therefore, pleased that GAVI has extended its co-financing support period from 2021 to 2028, and has also committed over three billion dollars in new funding for vaccines, cold chain infrastructure and health system strengthening across the country.”

Speaking further, the president pledged that the Federal Government would continue to provide counterpart funds, as well as strategies to gradually improve fiscal sustainability by 2028.

On his part, Dr Berkley commended what he called “increase in national immunization coverage between 2016 and now”, saying there was excellent inter-ministerial collaboration to achieve the milestone.

He also urged state governments to invest in vaccination and immunisation, adding that poverty reduction must equally be a goal in the country.

NMA Decries Declined Rate Of Child Immunisation

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Kaduna State chapter of the Nigerian Medical Association (NMA) has decried the declining immunisation coverage across the country, especially in northern Nigeria.

The State NMA Chairman, Dr Shehu Abdulrahman, who stated this on Tuesday while addressing a news conference in Kaduna said the situation was totally unacceptable.

According to him, available data from the 2016/2017 National Immunisation Coverage revealed that only 33 percent of children between 12 to 23 months of age have access to vaccines compared to the global target of 90 percent.

Dr Abdulraman was, however, worried that a large population of Nigerian children under age five were unprotected, saying they were being exposed to the risk of dying from preventable diseases such as measles and Hepatitis B among others.

He said except something was done urgently to reverse the trend, no meaningful development can take place in a situation where diseases and death are ravaging the potential leaders and hopes of tomorrow.

The NMA Chairman further called on government at all levels and other stakeholders in the health sector to provide more funds for child health, particularly routine immunisation activities.

He also asked them to support healthcare workers in the rural areas with adequate logistics and incentives to enable them to discharge their duties effectively.

Abdulrahman also appealed to the Federal Government to fully implement the National Health Act, 2014, which he said provided for the setting aside of one percent of consolidated revenue as Basic Health Provision Fund.

40% Of Nigerian Children Have Not Been Immunised – Survey

Forty percent of children aged between 12 to 23 months have not received any form of vaccine, according to the National Primary Healthcare Development Agency.

In the 2016/2017 National Immunisation Coverage Survey, which was released in Abuja on Thursday 10th August, the agency observes that 77 percent of the children did not receive all the routine immunisations.

The survey, conducted by the agency in partnership with development partners had conducted between August 2016 and January 2017, also shows that most states in northern Nigeria recorded a weak immunisation performance while southern states recorded substantial immunisation performance.

It attributes the weak immunisation performance in northern states to lack of awareness, mistrust, fears, service delivery issues and family issues.

However, no state in the country achieved the 90 percent performance set by the World Health Organisation.

Polio Eradication: Plateau Govt. Begins Interstate Border Immunisation

polioThe Plateau state government has begun a new strategy of interstate border immunisation that would capture children coming in and out of the state, in an effort to eradicate the polio disease.

The government says the interception of children at the border areas has been a success with over 13,000 children being immunized during previous exercises.

One of the officials involved in the immunisation process explained to Journalists that the development, was a step away from the norm as it was high time the government intensified efforts in the eradication of the menace.

“Before now, we have been doing the conventional, that is; moving from house to house, going to public places, but as it is now, Nigeria has been drawn back as far as polio is concerned and so we need to think outside the box.

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Child being immunised while in transit

“That was what informed my Executive Secretary of the Primary Health Care Development Board, to think and say, instead of just sitting down or moving from house to house, let’s intercept these children at the point of entry into the state capital.”

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Child being immunised while in transit

The Executive Secretary of the Primary Health Care Development Board also noted that results of the previous exercises revealed that most of the children moving across the state were not immunised; a fact which also informed the new approach.

Mimiko flags off maternal health week

The November 2012 Maternal, Newborn and Child Health Week has been flagged off in Ondo State by Governor Olusegun Mimiko.

The state governor though absent was represented by the first lady of Ondo state; Mrs. Olukemi Mimiko at the occasion in Akure the state capital.

She said the programme is meant to sensitize women so that they stay healthy by adhering to all the health practices, including routine immunisation of their babies.

Mrs .Mimiko was accompanied by the Health Commissioner; Dayo Adeyanju and present at the mother-child friendly programme were government officials, health workers, and representatives of partner agencies at the occasion.Pregnant women and nursing mothers were also present in their numbers at the premises of The Basic Health Centre, Ondo Road Akure ; the venue of the programme.

Speaking to Newsmen at the flag off, Mrs Mimiko said the maternal new-born, and child health week is organised to ensure safe delivery, routine child immunization, adequate breastfeeding so that the children could grow old and healthy.

She expressed gratitude to Governor Mimiko, officials of the ministry of Health and the Hospitals Management Board for giving women quality attention.

The state Commissioner for Health, Dr. Dayo Adeyanju lamented that some children under age five still die of preventable diseases.

He noted that this calls for proper sensitization of the mothers and other caregivers on key health practices such as: immunisation, sleeping under insecticide treated mosquito nets, hand washing, deworming, breastfeeding and birth registration among others.

Insecticide treated mosquito nets were distributed freely to all the pregnant women and nursing mothers at the end of the programme.

Health officials on ground also used the opportunity to immunise the babies presented by their mothers.

Officials want polio vaccination made compulsory by law

Officials and traditional rulers in some states are pushing for a law that would make it criminal for any parent to prevent their child from receiving the vaccine against polio, the Guardian newspaper reported on Tuesday.

A local health worker carries vaccination kits into a vehicle at a distribution centre ahead of the start of a nationwide polio immunization campaign on Wednesday, in Lagos February 21, 2011. Photo: REUTERS

The states of Bauchi, Benue, Rivers and Jigawa are leading efforts to have a binding legal framework to help fight against polio in Nigeria, which is the only country in Africa where the disease is endemic.

The governor of Jigawa State, Sule Lamido, has sent a bill to the State House of Assembly seeking lawmakers’ consent to make immunisation free and compulsory.

“The proposed law should make it mandatory for parents to immunise their children against polio and for its rejection to attract punishment,” the paper said.

Polio is a highly infectious disease caused by a virus that invades the nervous system. It can lead to total paralysis in a matter of hours and can be fatal.

Experts say the best way to fight the disease is by immunising as many children as possible.

The virus continued to spread in Nigeria because vaccines were rejected due to perceptions in a part of the country that the vaccine was an attempt by foreign powers to check population growth in the country, the paper said.

Health officials and traditional rulers say the situation has improved over the years but some authorities believe that a law passed by the National Assembly making immunisation compulsory and its rejection an offence would produce even better results, the paper said.

Nigerian authorities want to immunise 57.7 million children in a nationwide campaign launched last week.

The country’s president, Goodluck Jonathan, on March 1 inaugurated a Presidential Task Force to deal with the polio emergency and pledged $30 million per year for the next two years for polio eradication activities, according to the World Health Organization.

The anti-polio vaccination campaign in Nigeria is part of a region-wide effort targeting 111 million children under the age of five in 20 countries.