- Northern traditional leaders have been commended for their efforts in reducing vaccine hesitancy across states in the region
- The commendation was given by the Sultan of Sokoto, the executive director of the NPHCDA, UNICEF
- Also many Nigerians have been encouraged to visit the nearest health facility to take their COVID-19 vaccine
FCT, Abuja - The Sultan of Sokoto, His Eminence, Sa'ad Abubakar III, on Monday, July 5, urged traditional leaders in the northern part of Nigeria to support the ongoing Coronavirus vaccination campaign by the Federal Government.
His Eminence made the call at the 2021 second quarter review meeting of the Northern Traditional Leaders Committee on Primary Health Care Delivery (NTLC) attended by Legit.ng in Abuja.
Represented by the Emir of Argungu, Alhaji Samaila Muhammad, the Sultan said it is important that members of the NTLC continue to put in their best effort towards government initiatives beneficial to their community members.
Commending the National Primary Health Care Development Agency led by its executive director, Dr Faisal Shuaib, for its confidence in the NTLC, the Sultan said the committee would continue to work assiduously to ensure resolves agreed at the meeting are carried out to the later.
The Committee's Mandate
The Sultan added that in line with the committee's mandate, the traditional leaders will not rest on their oars until effective mass mobilization and education of the people is ensured.
He commended the committee members for the roles they played in eradicating polio from Nigeria.
"I am encouraged and proud of the action taken by some members of the traditional institution especially from this committee who presented themselves publicly to be vaccinated.
I suggest the NPHCDA and PTF on COVID-19 should take advantage of the availability of such images of community influencers across the board to motivate the general population to accept the vaccine.
"Using bill boards and recorded messages and testimonies of experiences from these important individuals will go along way to address and counter negative messages on the disease and safety of the vaccine."
In his remarks, Dr Shuaib said the NTLC meeting gives the agency the confidence that NPHCDA programmes are aligned with the people.
Further appreciating the effort of the committee in curving COVID-19 in Nigeria, Dr. Shuaib said the demonstration of leadership exhibited the traditional leaders by publicly receiving the vaccine has contributed to the success of the phase 1 of the COVID-19 vaccination roll-out.
Townhall Meetings To Curb Vaccine Hesitancy
Shuaib also noted that townhall meetings were initiated to curb some cases of vaccine hesitancy across the states.
According to him, the meetings would improve community knowledge of the facts and benefits of COVID-19 vaccination and to enhance community ownership and participation in the COVID-19 vaccination campaign.
"The townhall meetings are to be conducted at four levels - zonal, state, LGA, and ward levels. Already, the zonal level townhall meetings have been conducted successfully in north central zone, (Nasarawa state) and northeast zone, (Adamawa state)."
"The northwest zonal meeting was earlier scheduled for 1st July but has to be postponed due to preparation for the coronation of Emir of Kano. We would therefore be counting on your usual support to States to ensure they cascade the townhall meetings to the subnational levels."
Also speaking, a representative of UNICEF, Peter Hawkins, commended the northern traditional leaders for their effort in ensuring that Nigeria is certified polio free.
He called for the same level of energy towards eradicating the COVID-19 pandemic which has ravaged nations across the globe.
Hawkins said the fact the nearly four million Nigerians have been vaccinated against COVID-19 is phenomenal.
Encouraging the traditional leaders to continue to push for COVID-19 vaccination, Hawkins said no death has been recorded since the administration of the Oxford Astrazeneca vaccine roll-out commenced.
"Risks are minimum, compared to not taking the vaccine, I have taken mine, I have also driven my 83-year-old mother-in-law and my 20-year-old daughter to take their vaccine and no one has died from the receiving the vaccine that is out of the nearly four million people already vaccinated in Nigeria."
"I look forward to our discussions and I make a plea with all of us to play our roles in ensuring our people understand the benefits of the COVID-19 vaccines effectively."
In a Facebook post, the NPHCDA said 2,476,637 eligible Nigerians have been vaccinated with first dose while 1,355,822 of Nigerians vaccinated with first dose have collected their second dose.
Meanwhile, Legit.ng previously reported that a health communicator and the managing director of the Nigeria Health Watch had advised the Nigerian government to set out funding in prepartaion for future pandemic.
Vivianne Ihekweazu said the country has failed for meet up with her pledge (on the Abuja Declaration) to allocate 15% of Nigeria's annual budget on health.
According to Ihekweazu, Nigeria has not dedicated sufficient proportion of its annual budget to healthcare and its service delivery.
Also, the Nigerian government said that it has utilized 3.4 million doses of the Oxford AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine delivered to the country.
Dr. Shuaib said the doses were utilized for the first and second rounds of the administration of the vaccine to individuals.
According to the NPHCDA boss this make it approximately 88% of the total COVID-19 vaccine stock in the country.