- 4.3 million Nigerian children miss out on immunisation every year, UNICEF has said
- The agency immunization coverage for pentavalent vaccine across Nigeria has declined
- According to UNIECF representative in Nigeria, Mohamed Fall, all children have a right to survive and thrive irrespective of their locations
The United Nations International Children's Fund has said that only one out of four Nigerian children receive recommended vaccination annually across Nigeria, a recent report of the Multiple Indicator Cluster Survey 5 shows.
The international agency said, although Nigeria has made great strides in reducing death of children under the age of five from 158 to 120 per 1,000 births between 2011 and 2016, the coverage of the main vaccines offered through routine immunization has declined.
UNICEF in a statement said the immunization coverage for pentavalent vaccine between the 36 states varies dramatically from 80% in Lagos to 3% in Sokoto.
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The agency said this coverage is still below the recommended global goal of 90% for all the vaccine.
A pentavalent vaccine is one vaccine protects children against diphtheria (sore throat and fever with a potential for complications), whooping cough, tetanus, hemophilus influenzae type B (bacteria causing several types of infections) and hepatitis B (inflammatory disease of the liver).
A recent report of the Multiple Indicator Cluster Survey conducted by the government of Nigeria in 2016/17 shows that only 1 in 4 children in the country receive all the recommended vaccines.
Children who do not receive these vaccinations are at the greatest risk of contracting diseases such as measles, whooping cough, and tetanus, which may be fatal or lead to long-term weakening effects on survivors.
Also, poverty, overcrowding, poor hygiene and sanitation as well as insufficient nutrition and healthcare increase the risk of diseases such as pneumonia and measles; diseases that are easily preventable with vaccines.
Reacting to the decreasing number of children vaccinated, the UNICEF representative in Nigeria, Mohamed Fall said all children have a right to survive and thrive. Fall in a statement released by Eva Hinds, UNICEF communication specialist, said environment or location should not be a hindrance to immunizing children.
"All girls and boys, no matter where they live or what their situations are, have the right to survive and thrive, safe from deadly diseases. Vaccination acts as a shield, keeping families and communities safe. By vaccinating children, we are protecting the most vulnerable members of the communities.
Immunization is one of the most powerful and most cost-effective health interventions. UNICEF and its partners continues to stand firm with the government to ensure that the lives of children are protected," Fall said.
Legit.ng earlier reported that the commissioner for health in Zamfara state had said that the ongoning vaccination of 3.2 million people in the state is going smoothly.
Lawal Liman said the state is set to vaccinate 3.2 million people against yellow fever in Zamfara.
The commissioner said the vaccination would be conducted in partnership with the national primary health care development agency in Zamfara state.
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