By Nike Adebowale
Nigeria has concluded plans for mass vaccination of children in all parts of the country throughout the period of the 2019 African Vaccination Week.
The country has improved in routine immunisation coverage in the past years, the National Primary Health Care Development Agency (NPHCDA) said.
The Executive Director of the agency, Faisal Shuaib, said this at a press conference on the 2019 African Vaccination Week (AVW) in Abuja on Thursday.
He said the coverage rate has moved from 48 per cent in 2015 to 57 per cent in 2018 as revealed by the recent SMART survey conducted by the National Bureau of Statistics.
Mr Shuaib said the improvement is a result of strategic initiatives such as the National Emergency Routine Immunization Coordination Centre (NERICC) by the agency.
The African Vaccination Week (AVW) is marked in April every year to strengthen immunisation services and systems in the region.
The African region has set out the April 22- 28 for this year’s edition, with the theme “Protected Together: Vaccines Work.”
The theme emphasises the need for collective responsibility and inclusive participation of all in mobilising human, material and logistics resources needed for implementing vaccination activities.
Mr Shuaib also said Nigeria will soon celebrate polio-free certification.
“I have no doubt that with our very encouraging record of not having a single case of Wild Polio Virus ( WPV) in any part of the country in the past three years, we all shall soon celebrate a polio-free Nigeria of our dreams,” he said.
Mr Shuaib said the federal government has concluded plans for mass vaccination of children in all parts of the country throughout the period of the 2019 African Vaccination Week.
He urge parents, guardians and caregivers to avail themselves of the unique opportunity and make their children and wards available for immunisation.
In his remarks, the Officer in Charge, World Health Organisation( WHO) Nigeria, Clement Peter, said the international agency was working with the Nigerian government to ensure that no child is left behind during vaccination.
“So it is our commitment that we take this week to remind us that it is our obligation to make sure our children get the vaccines. It is the right if the children to get those vaccines,” he said.
He said WHO was working with the NPHCDA to ensure that there is proper documentation during this period of African vaccination week.