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Immunisation key to preventing death, diseases

…as 1st National Vaccine Summit opens in Abuja
Immunisations have been found to be one of the most cost-effective interventions in the world for preventing death and disease. One major step to achieve this is through vaccination.

Experts have evaluated many benefits for vaccine. For instance, when a child is vaccinated, it will produce immunity to disease in their body 90 – 100 per cent of the time.

It also been found that vaccines can bring economic benefits as well: according to recent International Vaccine Centre, IVAC,  projections, achieving 90 per cent  immunization coverage in the next decade could add $17 billion to the Nigerian economy.

According to a Landscape Analysis of Routine Immunization in Nigeria conducted by Dr. Chizoba Wonodi and her team, Nigeria has succeeded in implementing major improvements in routine immunization, RI, over the past three years.

However, this progress comes in the context of ongoing vaccine stock-outs, significant coverage heterogeneity among states, an overall coverage rate below the average for Africa, and an under-five mortality rate of 138 child deaths per 1,000 live births.

The team in their analysis noted that scaling up vaccine coverage can reduce mortality from childhood killers like pneumonia, diarrhea and malaria, which together account for over 60 percent of deaths among Nigerian children less than five years of age.

Given the significant burden of vaccine-preventable diseases in Nigeria, improving RI coverage would reduce child mortality and accelerate progress towards the MDG 4 target.

To that end, in 2011, IVAC conducted a Landscape Analysis of Routine Immunization in Nigeria, (LARI), to identify key barriers to RI and a range of potential high-impact solutions.

LARI conducted in conjunction with Solina Health and Nigeria’s National Primary Health Care Development Agency (NPHCDA), with support from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

The study draws on 126 key informant interviews and 11 focus group discussions in eight representative Nigerian states. This policy brief summarizes the key findings from the study, with the objective of providing on the-ground feedback relevant to decision-makers.

In recognition of these benefits and more, the nation will Monday witnessed the first National Vaccine Summit, NVS,  slated to hold in Abuja.

Reacting to the two-day summit, scheduled for April 16 and 17, the Chairperson of the International Steering Committee of the National Vaccine Summit, Dr. Chizoba Wonodi, who claimed that the summit will boost the country’s vaccination campaign, said will bring both local and international stakeholders together to form a plan of action at inspiring a national commitment to fund and support sustainable immunisation programmes in Nigeria.

Wonodi stated that their objective was to aid the universal vaccine coverage for all Nigerian children by the year 2015.
Wonodi, who is also the lead, Nigeria Programmes at the John Hopkins International Vaccine Access Centre, IVAC, explained that the summit is more important in the light of about one million Nigerian children, less than five years of age that are still dying every year from vaccine preventable diseases.

“In order to prevent avoidable deaths and illness, we must build on the progress that has been made and ensure that we reach every Nigerian child with life-saving vaccines,” she said.

The summit is collaboration between the Federal Ministry of Health, the National Primary Care Development Agency (NPCDA), Paediatric Association of Nigeria (PAN), John Hopkins IVAC, other Nigerian and International partners.

Justifying why Nigeria need vaccines, Wonodi explained that Nigeria is one of four countries in the world that make up 50 per cent of the unvaccinated children and is the 12th highest under-5 mortality in the world.

Parents tasked on immunisation in Imo State


Parents and care givers have been urged to complement the efforts of United Nations Children’s Fund, UNICEF, Rotary International and government to ensure that Imo State sustains its polio free status.

The Parish Priest of Saint Mulumba’s Parish, Owerri, Rev. Fr. Justin Okoro, who made the passionate appeal while appraising the second round 2012 Immunization Plus Days in the state, was equally appreciative of World Health Organization, WHO.

Rev. Fr. Okoro expressed his preparedness in contributing to the awareness campaign of immunization exercise, stressing that children have a right to live.

The Catholic cleric advised mothers to ensure the routine immunization of their children, even at the end of the second round of the immunization plus days campaign.

In a similar development, the State Immunization Officer, SIO, Mr. Adolphus Okoro, says immunization is carried out to ensure that children between zero to five years are protected from communicable diseases, including polio.

The SIO, who spoke to Vanguard, also criticized some religious sects that resist immunization of their children, pointing out that the reason for the vaccine is to interrupt the spread of polio in the state.


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