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There are over four million unimmunized children in Nigeria - NPCHDA

There are over four million unimmunized children in Nigeria - NPCHDA

- The National Primary Healthcare Development Agency (NPHCDA) has revealed that there are over four million unimmunized children in Nigeria

- This was revealed at a one day high level strategic dialogue on advocacy and accountability on routine immunization in Nigeria

- The dialogue was organised by the development Research and Projects Center (dRPC)

The National Primary Healthcare Development Agency (NPHCDA) has revealed that there are over four million unimmunized children in Nigeria.

This was revealed by the Executive Secretary of the NPHCDA, Faisal Shuaib, at a one day high level strategic dialogue on advocacy and accountability on routine immunization in Nigeria on Thursday, August 9, in Abuja.

The dialogue was organised by the development Research and Projects Center (dRPC) in conjunction with the National Association of Community Health Practitioners of Nigeria (NACHPN).

There are over four million immunized children in Nigeria - NPCHDA

Cross section of participants at the dialogue. Photo credit: dRPC

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Shuaib was represented at the event by Abdullahi Bulama, director, planning research statistics, NPHCDA.

The aim of the dialogue is to strengthen the accountability framework for routine immunisation service delivery at national and state levels.

The meeting is part of the continuous efforts towards attaining the objectives of Nigeria’s Strategy for Immunization and Primary Health care system strengthening, (NSIPSS) 2018-2028.

Delivering a keynote address on behalf of his boss, Bulama stated that Routine Immunization (RI) for Nigeria.

According to him, the Director General of the World Health Organisation, Tedros Ghebreyesus, emphasized the importance of RI and the work to be done during a recent meeting in Geneva.

He said part of the effort the agency has been taking in improving RI is that every department in NPHCDA conduct meetings every week

He revealed that the NPHCDA is working on how Nigeria can start local vaccine production.

“We are looking at how we can be on our own feet. This we are doing by seeing how we can start local vaccine production. But with vaccine creation, the resources is limited. This is why GAVI has extended the date for vaccine funding in the country.

“GAVI has some concerns that is why they are giving us additional support at the this time till the next ten years, hopefully our economy and resources might have improved,” he said.

He also said the NPHCDA is doing everything to reduce the large noise of Nigeria having the largest number of immunized children.

On his part, Emmanuel Abanida, senior technical advisor at the NPHCDA, during his presentation, acknowledged the importance of accountability in the federal and state level saying it would ensure that RI goes a long way to reaching all Nigerians.

He said some of the problems facing RI is that some states do not know how many facilities they have or have an accurate record of the PHCs in the states.

He said the agency is trying to correlate all these data and have a score card for every state governor on their facilties and how they fare.

Speaking to journalists on the sidelines of the event, said the coverage for a fully immunized child and vaccination in the country has been very challenging.

The 2016/2017 multiple indicator clusters survey revealed that the coverage for fully immunized child in Nigeria and performance is about 33 per cent.

“In 2011, the GAVI board approved that Nigeria and India, should have a special package for immunization because they are two large countries. We call it strategy for large countries.

“However, the performance of Routine Immunization in Nigeria has become a huge challenge because coverage is very low, funding is very low,” he lamented.

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Three months ago, the United Nations International Children's Fund announced that only one out of four Nigerian children receive recommended vaccination annually across Nigeria.

UNICEF 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.

It 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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