The Federal Government and the World Health Organization have announced a partnership to boost routine immunization rates in the country, with the goal of immunizing 930,000 children annually. Dr. Kofi Boateng, WHO Team Lead for Vaccine-Preventable Diseases and Polio Eradication, made this statement in Abuja at an interaction with other development partners arranged by the National Primary Healthcare Development Agency on improved outreach. He added that the COVID-19 pandemic’s effects prevented an estimated 33 million African children from receiving vaccinations between 2019 and 2021.
Also, the large spread of diseases like measles, diphtheria, yellow fever, and others is directly attributable to the fact that these children were not vaccinated. About 6.2 million children in Nigeria did not receive any vaccine between 2019 and 2021, and this meeting is meant to help the country catch up with those numbers, he said. This is all in preparation for the African vaccination week commemoration, which is on the theme “The big catch up.” To ensure that all health facilities support the outreach’s attempts to catch up on un-immunized children, Dr. Boateng stated that the FG and other development partners are assessing measures that the states were going to employ.
More states will be engaged with the WHO programme.
Nevertheless, he disclosed that the most successful strategy had been realized, which called for bringing the vaccination to the people through set sessions, outreach sessions, and flexible sessions for a particular population, depending on their proximity to the medical facility. Participants from the FCT and the other 36 states in the country were invited to the engagement programme. In Nigeria, it has been seen that community outreach events are not producing the desired results in terms of the number of children that are vaccinated over the course of the years.
In order to ensure that the finances are made available to support this plan, they are conversing about how partners may support the state in terms of resources through working with state authorities. The WHO has a physical presence in all 36 states, with employees supporting polio eradication and other Primary Healthcare (PHC) services in nearly every ward. They want to use this advantage to help the government guarantee the quality of all plans at those tiers. WHO not only backs strategic policies but also keeps tabs on the world at large. They have people out there helping to coordinate, plan, and carry out the state’s initiatives.
Unreached communities will also be touched by the initiative.
Dr. Faisal Shuaib, the Executive Director of NPHCDA, on his part, stated that preparations for specialized logistics had been made in order to bring routine immunizations to regions that are difficult to access. He made the observation that there is a requirement for a paradigm shift for parents to have their children present to receive vaccines and for healthcare staff to utilize every possible chance to reach children, most importantly in communities that are difficult to reach.
Additionally, Dr. Bassey Okposen, who is the Director of Disease Control and Immunization for the NPHCDA, observed that the majority of states were not carrying out outreach processes as anticipated. As a result, they devised optimized strategies for how to make the outreach efforts more effective and communicated the optimized outreach strategy technique to them so that they could also improve their performance. They are also making use of the chance to discuss the HPV vaccine with the various states.
Additional support and monitoring will be given to the outreach.
On the other hand, Dr. Boateng further explained that in order to see this through, they plan to assist in educating medical personnel. The process will be watched closely by them. Data on the actual number of children who are going to be vaccinated will also be used to evaluate the quality of services provided as a result of the outreach. They hope that by working together with the government, they will be able to bring the cost of zero-dose medicine down by 15 percent annually. According to him, they plan to lower the dosage by that much by the end of the study.
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