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1M kids die of preventable diseases annually

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By Mercy Kelani

Lifesaving vaccines for these diseases are already accessible and feasible.

Prof. Ali Muhammad Pate, the Coordinating Minister for Health and Social Welfare, stated that an estimated one million children under the age of five lose their lives annually in Nigeria due to various illnesses, some of which could have been prevented with vaccines. Pate revealed this information during his appearance on Sunday Politics show on Channels Television on March 10, 2024. Prof. Pate stated that a majority of the deaths, 70 percent to be exact, could have been avoided.

His statement highlighted the alarming reality that in the country, approximately one million children under the age of five lose their lives annually, with 70 percent of these deaths being preventable through vaccines such as those for diphtheria, measles, and pneumonia. These life saving vaccines are already accessible and economically feasible, making them an essential tool in reducing child mortality rates. He expressed concerns about the difficulty faced by the primary healthcare system in various regions.

Prioritizing investment in the health sector.

This happens when it comes to promoting the use of affordable vaccines. As a result, efforts are being made to improve infrastructure in order to address this issue. Pate emphasized that under the administration of President Bola Ahmed Tinubu, there is a deliberate focus on implementing policies that would have a direct impact on the general population. He also highlighted the importance of prioritizing investment in the health sector as one of these key policies.

One of the strategies being implemented to combat malaria in the country involves the utilization of various tools, such as mosquito nets and vaccines, in order to effectively control the fever across the country. He stated that Nigeria was fully prepared to roll out the new malaria vaccines in the nation at the earliest opportunity. Citizens have also been urged to remember that the largest vaccine manufacturer in the world announced new plans on March 10, 2024.

WHO approved R21 vaccine, which consists of three doses & a booster shot.

The plans of the manufacturer is to begin distributing an affordable new malaria vaccine in Africa starting in May. This year, the Serum Institute of India (SII) intends to distribute 25 million doses of the latest vaccine, which was created in collaboration with researchers from Oxford University and is referred to as R21. The World Health Organisation (WHO) has approved the R21 vaccine, which consists of three doses and a booster shot, for children between the ages of 5 and 36 months.

More so, this marks the second malaria vaccine to be given the green light by the World Health Organization (WHO). A spokesperson from UNICEF announced that the initial batch of R21 doses will be sent to Chad, Central African Republic, DR Congo, Mozambique, and South Sudan as the first five countries to receive the vaccine. The announcement was made by the spokesperson that both Uganda and Nigeria are intending to implement it at a later date this year.

Related Article: Disease Outbreaks Loom Within Nigeria

An infectious disease that can be prevented by a vaccine is referred to as a vaccine-preventable disease. If someone contracts a vaccine-preventable disease and passes away from it, their death is classified as a vaccine-preventable death. The World Health Organization (WHO) monitors a total of 12 common and severe diseases that can be prevented through vaccines, such as diphtheria, hepatitis B, measles, mumps, tetanus, tuberculosis, and yellow fever. According to the WHO, there are licensed vaccines for 31 different infections that can be prevented or controlled through vaccination.

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