Health

May 24, 2024

Diphtheria: Over 5m children ‘ve been vaccinated, says FG

Prof. Ali Pate

By Joseph Erunke, Abuja

The federal government says over 5 million children have so far been vaccinated against diphtheria, using pentavalent vaccine.

The government which particularly disclosed that more than 10 million Nigerian children have received tetanus and diphtheria vaccines, informed that it was working assiduously to stop the circulating variant polio viruses showing up in Kano, Katsina, Sokoto, Zamfara and Kebbi states, respectively.

The Coordinating Minister of Health and Social Welfare, Prof. Ali Pate, spoke Friday, during the presentation of his ministry’s achievements at the Ministerial Sector Briefing, in Abuja, organised by the Federal Ministry of Information.

Pate said government had delivered measles vaccines to more than 5 million children to  protect them against measles. According to him, 4.95 million girls between the ages of 9 to 14 years in 15 states have

received Human papillomavirus, HPV vaccines to protect them against cervical cancer, representing 80% target, among the highest in the world.

He disclosed that 6 million more are planned to receive the vaccines in the next phase for 21 states starting from May 27, 2024.

He said:” In the area of vaccination, over 5 million Nigerian children have been vaccinated against diphtheria using pentavalent vaccine. “More than 10 million Nigerian children received the tetanus and diphtheria vaccines. ” We are working hard to stop the circulating variant polio viruses showing up in Kano, Katsina, Sokoto, Zamfara and Kebbi States.

“We have delivered measles vaccines to more than 5 million children to protect them against measles, and 4.95 million girls 9-14 years in 15 States have received HPV vaccines to protect them against cervical cancer, representing 80% target, among the highest in the world. 6 million more are planned to receive the vaccines in the next phase for 21 states starting from May 27, 2024.

“In terms of hospital equipment and infrastructure, the federal hospitals have successfully executed 201 specific infrastructure projects in the last 1 year.

Additionally, 179 specific pieces of important medical equipment were procured by the federal government and distributed across the six geopolitical zones. In 33 of our federal tertiary hospitals, approximately 4.5 million Nigerians accessed outpatient health services, and 1.6 million had inpatient admissions.

“Showing that Nigerians are using the services provided by the Federal Government in those facilities, supported by an amazing army of health professionals.”

According to him, “We are witnessing substantial upgrade in healthcare infrastructure, a testament to the President’s leadership.” “Plans are underway for the groundbreaking ceremony of 10 healthcare infrastructure projects, through the NSIA, across the six geopolitical zones, including diagnostic centers and oncology centers.

“These developments are part of a broader initiative involving public-private partnerships. We are moving forward with a major PPP to get to the full business case stage for expanding infrastructure and equipping 6 teaching hospitals,” he added.

He spoke further: “Addressing the critical issue of the health workforce, we have doubled the intake  capacity of our educational institutions. Enrollment quotas for medical schools, nursing schools, and other health professional training institutions have increased significantly from 28,000 to 64,000 annually. Now the hard work of getting educational institutions to enhance infrastructure, teaching materials to ensure quality is not eroded by expanding the quantity. This is necessary given the shortage of health workforce.

“We have also approved a managed migration policy for health and are looking at how best to address the excessive workload of medical providers, especially the medical doctors. In the last 7 months more than 100 young medical graduates secured residency positions in the US and we issued the certificates of need for them to be trained and return home, and changed the policy to include domestic as well as internationally trained medical graduates. We are working with Ministry of Labor as well as Salaries Incomes and Wages Commission to address long standing legacy issues of compensation and allowances which will take time and more patience from health workers.

“All the above are on the supply side, but on the demand side, to expand affordability and financial protection, we are repositioning NHIA to expand insurance coverage for all Nigerians, especially the poor and vulnerable, not excluding civil servants who need deepened coverage.

“1.8 million Nigerians are covered through the Vulnerable Groups Fund at NHIA. Reforms of the NHIA soon to be announced will address areas, including expanding private health insurance for informal sector, and strengthening the HMOs in tandem with SSHIAs at the States, repositioning NHIA as an effective and efficient regulator of the health insurance.”