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… 6 in10 vulnerable to polio, others – Report

By Chioma Obinna,

Sixty-four per cent of Nigerian children under the age of two years are at risk of childhood killer diseases as only 39 per cent of children aged 12 to 23 months received all recommended vaccines in the country.

This means that six in every 10 children are still vulnerable to at least one vaccine-preventable disease including; diphtheria, Haemophilus influenzae serotype b infection, hepatitis B, measles, meningitis, mumps, pertussis, poliomyelitis, rubella, tetanus, tuberculosis, and yellow fever.

These are contained in the just-released Multiple Indicator Cluster Survey, MICS, and National Immunisation Coverage Survey, NICS.

The report which was carried out between 2017 and 2021 by the National Bureau of Statistics, NBS, in collaboration with the United Nations Children’s Fund, UNICEF, World Health Organization, WHO, among other partners showed that children are still susceptible to diseases because they have not been able to complete their doses of vaccines while some have not taken any at all.

The survey also revealed that Enugu and Ebonyi have the lowest number of unimmunized children.

Speaking at a two-day media dialogue on the Survey, in Port Harcourt, the UNICEF Chief for Data (M4R), Claes Johanson, explained that the smallest proportions of children who did not receive any vaccinations are found in Enugu with 1 per cent and Ebonyi with 0 per cent while the highest percentage is in Sokoto with 51 per cent.

The report found that the benefits of vaccines are fully realised when children receive all recommended vaccine doses promptly, adding that more children are fully vaccinated in the southern zones compared to northern zones.

Johanson who noted that political will played a big part in the results of the survey added that while there is a little progress, there was room for improvement.

“The result did not look good for some sectors and states. Therefore, taking action should be a priority for the government. It is a government-owned survey. The Executive Director of the National Primary Health Care Development Agency (NHCDA), Dr Faisal Shuaib, has accepted the data.

“The survey is an international household survey designed to collect estimates on key indicators used to assess the situation of children and women on issues like health and nutrition, education, child welfare, etc. It is one of the largest MICS in the world, which includes interviews with 39,500 households with over 1,000 per state.”

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