The World Health Organisation (WHO) has called on the federal government to strengthen routine immunisation to enable more than 24,000 babies born daily to receive all vaccines scheduled for the first two years of their lives.
WHO’s Country Representative in Nigeria, Dr. Walter Kazadi Mulombo, 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).
AVN is an annual event celebrated during the last week of April in synchronisation with other WHO Regions and World Immunisation Week (WIW).
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”.
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 Immunisation 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 Representative assured Nigerians of its continued commitment to the agenda of PHC revitalisation, immunisation 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 24/7 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, Representing 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 immunisation and reaching zero doses and under-immunised 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.
Culled from THISDAY