Routine Immunization: NMA Applauds WHO, UNICEF, Others On Vaccination Services in Nigeria

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BY ISAIAH BENJAMIN ,Kaduna
The Nigerian Medical Association (NMA) Kaduna State branch has applauded the contribution of the federal, state government alongside development partners such as the World Health Organisation (WHO) United Nations Children Fund (UNICEF) and a host of other stakeholders in the provision of vaccination services across the country.
Meanwhile, the medical umbrella body has also lamented the decline in immunization coverage in Nigeria with its attendant implications on the future of the country if not addressed.
The medical body said, the 2016/2017 National Immunization Coverage Survey (NICS) indicates that, only 33 percent of children between 12-23 months of age had 3 doses of pentavalent vaccine against the global target of 90 percent and only 23 percent were fully immunized.
Addressing newsmen preparatory to the 2017 annual physician’s week celebration with the theme: Declining immunization coverage,  threat to national development and security, Way forward” the NMA Chairman in the State, Dr. Shehu Abdulrahman noted that, the implication of the shocking revelation was that, many of Nigerian children particularly those under 5 years of age are unprotected making them prone to preventable diseases such as measles, diphtheria, pertusis, tetanus, hepatitis B among others.
According to NMA, the scaring statistics is unacceptable to Nigerian doctors saying, the trend must be reversed as soon as possible in the interest of the potential leaders of tomorrow.
He said, “the celebration of 2017 Physician’s week calls for sober reflection on the declining immunization coverage in our dear country.
“The2016/2017 NICS indicates that only 33 percent of children 12-23 months of age had three doses of pentavalent vaccine against the global target of 90 percent and only 23 percent were fully immunized. 40 percent do not receive any vaccine from the health system with the year under review.
“The NMA acknowledge the ongoing efforts of the federal government of Nigeria and state ministries of health, development partners such as WHO, UNICEF and a host of other stakeholders in providing vaccination services across the country.
” I therefore call on government at all levels to channel more funds to child health particularly routine immunization activities. Health workers in the rural areas should be provided with logistics and incentives to carry out regular  outreaches at hard to reach areas and security compromised spots” he stated.