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Nigeria has poor immunisation record, says health minister

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Fred Ezeh, Abuja

The Federal Government has expressed worry that some Nigerians have deliberately chosen to show little or no interest in issues of children vaccination, which ought to guarantee healthy growth and development of children.

The government was unhappy that in spite of several programmes and steps targeted at reducing maternal and child mortality rate in Nigeria, record of mortality has continue to rise astronomically.

It disclosed that records domiciled with the National Primary Health Care Development Agency (NPHCDA) and other record keeping agencies indicated that only one in four children get full dosage of immunisation.

Minister of Health, Prof. Isaac Adewole, who spoke at flag off of 2018 African Vaccination Week (AVW) with the theme ” Vaccines work; Be an immunization champion” said that the vaccination records was scaring and need urgent attention.

He identified the critical role of civil servants in the campaign for increased access to immunization and solicited their support in addition to government effort to rescue future generations from preventable diseases.

“If people with good health and education find it difficult to survive in present day Nigeria, what would be fate of people with deformities. It is high time we save our future generations from preventable diseases through vaccination.

“We ought to quit shifting blames and responsibilities to governments. Civil servants are closer to the people than the government. Rural communities see civil servants as learned people. Take advantage of that public respect to educate and expose people of benefits of immunization,” he suggested.

The Minister stressed that immunization is more gainful to the parents, as fully immunized children grow in good health and parents time and stress of spending time and resources in the hospital.

NPHCDA Executive Director, Dr. Faisal Shuaib, said that the objective of the AVW, was to engage in routine immunization that would consolidate the progress made thus far.

He reiterated the determination of the Federal Government to establish a primary healthcare center in 10, 000 wards in Nigeria. This, he believe, will bring primary healthcare closer to the people.

Head of Service of the Federal, Winifred Oyo-Ita, who spoke through Ayodele Afolayan, promised to mobilize civil servants any course that would increase access to vaccination.

Representatives of World Health Organisation (WHO) and other development partners promised to support campaign for improved access to immunisation in Nigeria.

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