.Ehanire

By Joseph Erunke, ABUJA

The federal government, Thursday, disclosed that four states of the federation have not only reached the 70 percent target of fully vaccinated eligible population for COVID-19 but also have the highest number of fully vaccinated persons.

The states, according to the Minister of Health, Dr Osagie Ehanire, are Nasarawa, Jigawa, Kano and Kaduna states, respectively.

The minister disclosed this in a keynote address he delivered at the Quarterly Review Meeting of the Northern Traditional Leaders Committee on Primary Health Care Delivery in Abuja.

While thanking the states for achieving the grey, he appealed to other states in the country to emulate the four states to enable the country to build immunity against COVID-19 and reach the desired national coverage.

Ehanire, who acknowledged that Nigeria has made tremendous progress, especially in Polio eradication and routine immunisation, said the government would remain eternally grateful to the traditional leaders for the steady progress.

“Looking back at our health indices in the Northern part of the country before this partnership, I must say that we have made remarkable progress, especially in Polio eradication and routine immunisation.

“We will remain eternally grateful to your Eminence and all traditional Leaders for this steady progress.

“However, we are still not at optimal performance yet. We still have a lot of work to do to achieve our collective goal of bequeathing a Primary Health care system that is responsive to the needs of the people.

“We need to further strengthen our community engagement through your royal highnesses to ensure that our people, especially the most vulnerable are protected by being fully vaccinated against Polio and COVID-19 and other childhood diseases.

“As you are aware, the Federal Government of Nigeria has been doing all within its power to provide adequate quantity of COVID-19 Vaccines for the country.

“Let me use this opportunity to therefore assure all eligible Nigerians that we have enough vaccines for first, second and even booster doses of COVID-19 vaccines across all States in the country.

“I wish to urge you to continue to encourage our people to get vaccinated against COVID-19 and other vaccine-preventable diseases as NPHCDA has integrated all these services to ensure that every vaccination site serves as a one-stop site for the vaccination of the entire family.

“We need to quickly increase coverage across all states to achieve our national target of vaccinating at least 70% of eligible populations 18 years and older.

“I want to specially commend Nasarawa, Jigawa, Kano and Kaduna States which have the highest number of fully vaccinated persons and have reached the 70% target of the fully vaccinated eligible population for COVID-19.

“I urge other states to emulate these states to enable the country to build immunity against COVID-19 and reach the desired national coverage,” he said.

The minister reminded the traditional leaders to continue to sensitize their communities about the benefits of immunization and other PHC services, the risk of non-vaccination and in particular, to continue to promote COVID-19 vaccination in their domains.

On his part, the Executive Director of, the National Primary Health Care Development Agency,NPHCDA,Dr. Faisal Shuaib, commended the traditional leaders for their efforts to eradicate of wild poliovirus,WPV, saying the progress government was making in routine immunization would not have been possible without their immense contributions.

He said:” Our modest achievements to date such as the eradication of the Wild Poliovirus (WPV) and the steady progress we are making in routine immunization and COVID-19 Vaccination would not have been possible without your leadership, commitment and sacrifices.

“There is no gainsaying the fact that your voices amplified the aspirations and interests of the people at the grassroots level. For over a decade, you lave been on this journey with us. Let me assure Your Eminence and Royal Highnesses, that we will never take your support and commitment for granted. “

He said the government has begun to expand the partnership to the southern part of Nigeria.

“I am glad to inform you that we are gradually expanding this partnership to the southern part of the country. Just last month, His Excellency, the Honourable Minister of Health, Dr. Osagie Ehanire, my boss and mentor, inaugurated the Southeast Traditional Rulers Committee on PHC Delivery (SETRC) at Enugu and earlier in August, the Southwest traditional leaders Committee on PHC Delivery (SWTLC) held its inaugural meeting. These have been achieved because we leveraged the lessons learned from coordinating the NTLC.

“We need to further strengthen our community engagement as the risk of polio {is still very much with us. Apart from the fact that we are still contending with the challenge of cVPV2, the re-emergence of WPV in some African countries shows that all counties are vulnerable until the virus is totally eradicated worldwide.

“This reinforces the saying that as long as polio is detected anywhere in the world, every child, everywhere is at risk,” he added.

The NPHCDA boss disclosed that “As of 23 September 2022, 130 cVPV2 have been detected in 47 local government areas across 16 states.”

“Although this is about 82% reduction compared to the same period in 2021 when we had 711 cVPV2, this is still worrisome as we are witnessing breakthrough transmissions in two states namely Sokoto and Zamfara. it is in our efforts to control this transmission that we are still conducting Polio outbreak response campaigns. Outbreak response campaigns are being conducted in 12 northern States, some have just been concluded while others are ongoing.

“I, therefore, humbly urge you not to rest on your oars as we will continue to leverage your influence to increase individual and community demand for all PHC services, particularly Polio and COVID-19 Vaccination but also maternal and child healthcare services.

“Let me also reiterate the fact that COVID-19 is still very much with us. Therefore, we need to continue to protect ourselves, our families, and our communities using the only formidable tool available against the disease – the COVID-19 vaccines. As of 4th October 2022, the number of persons who are fully vaccinated against COVID-19 in the country is 41,269,072 or 37% of the total eligible population in Nigeria.

“Your Royal Highnesses, because of your leadership, every day over 350,000 Nigerians are vaccinated against COVID-19, we thank you.

“It is in our efforts to rapidly ramp up COVID-19 vaccination across the country, that we launched S.CALE.S 3.0 strategy in August 2022. This is an evidence-based approach that uses human centred demand generation approach to address the low-risk perception of COVID-19 in the country.

“This strategy intensifies the integration of COVID-19 vaccination with routine immunization and other PHC services. It adopts state-specific contexts and bottom-up approaches to address bottlenecks in service delivery, communication, accountability, logistics, electronic management of immunization data and supportive supervision,” he further said.

Dr Shuaib reiterated the commitment of the Federal Government, through NPHCDA, to ensure that government provides safe and effective vaccines to overcome the COVID-19 pandemic and other vaccine-preventable diseases.

” These vaccines are free and available across the country.

“May I use this opportunity to humbly remind those who are yet to receive their vaccination that vaccines are available in all states? For those that are due for the second dose or even booster doses, vaccines are available in the country. I urge you all to continue to promote immunization and COVID vaccination among your families,” he said.

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