By Khadija Aliyu
The National Immunization Coverage survey result shows that, over
the years, Nigeria has made progress in routine Immunisation coverage.
The UNICEF Chief, Kano Field office Mr. Rahama Farah made the disclosure, at a two day media dialogue, organised by UNICEF in Collaboration with the National Orientation Agency (NOA).
According to him, despite the progress, it is also clear that gaps still exist, saying that,in the three states of the northwest of Nigeria; Kano, Katsina and Jigawa, there are over 600,000 children who have not been vaccinated against childhood killer diseases.
“This closer to about 40 per cent of the total unimmunised children in Nigeria. Over 300,000 of those children are in Kano State, representing 50 per cent of the three states under the UNICEF Kano Office.
“This situation is unacceptable and should be reversed urgently”
The chief of field office Kano, said as the UN agency mandated for the protection and promotion of children’s rights, UNICEF is extremely concerned, when children don’t get immunised.
Mr. Farah however stressed that, yet, despite proven safety, efficacy, and availability of vaccines, immunisation uptake has not always been optimal.
“At UNICEF, we daily monitor the media reporting, and we see that the content on child rights issues, and stories on children and women represent a sizable content published by the robust Nigerian media.
“Let me emphasisze this, your role in advancing and promoting the public health services and promoting children rights in Nigeria is very critical”
He pointed out that, myths, disinformation, misinformation, and rumours, have contributed a great deal to poor immunisation uptake, exposing children to high risk ,and death that can be avoidable when they don’t get immunized.
The chief of field office, therefore urged media practitioners across the country, to create the demand for immunisation and to raise awareness of the importance of Immunisation, by providing accurate information to caregivers, families, and communities.
“And also they should ensure an integrated package of primary health services are provided to families in one functional health facility,”
Mr Rahma further called on government, to also Increase strategic interventions to address persistent gap in human resources and recruit additional skilled critical cadres of health workers, including vaccinators, Community Health Influencers and Promoters Services (CHIPS)) agents for immunisation demand creation.
He also charged them, to provide essential medicines and health commodities, infrastructure,
electricity, and water supply for quality integrated Primary Health Care service for people.
“Let me conclude by reiterating UNICEF’s commitment to work with and support the state governments to ensure that the well-being of children and their rights are fulfilled and protected”
Radio Nigeria reports that, the media dialogue on routine immunisation and the challenge of Zero Dose Children in particular, was organised for journalists from Kano, Katsina and Jigawa States.