2.2 million Children in Nigeria not Immunised – UNICEF
UNICEF says at least 2.2 million Nigerian children did not receive a single dose of vaccine between 2019 and 2021.
It says also that globally, 67 million children missed out on routine immunisation between 2019 and 2022 as 48 million of them did not receive a single routine vaccine.
“A total of 67 million children missed out on vaccinations between 2019 and 2021 with vaccination coverage levels decreasing in 112 countries.
“Children born just before or during the COVID-19 pandemic are now moving past the age when they would normally be vaccinated.
“This underscores the need for urgent action to catch up on those who were missed to prevent deadly disease outbreaks,” Chief of Health in Nigeria (UNICEF), Dr Eduardo Celades, said in Abuja on Thursday.
He told newsmen that Nigeria trailed behind India in the number of children not immunised during the period.
He noted that the number of Nigerian children not immunised remained high in spite of efforts made by the country.
Celades noted also that the number of measles cases recorded in Nigeria in 2022 was more than double the total recorded in 2021.
“As at the end of 2021, India and Nigeria (countries with very large birth cohorts) had the largest numbers of unimmunised children, with Nigeria having two million children unimmunised,’’ he said.
He stressed that Nigeria is currently nowhere near the global vaccination goal because of challenges encountered in immunisation programmes.
“Challenges such as distrust in government, poor cold-chain management, and poor communication during the onset of vaccination programmes all contributed to the inability to attain set goals.
“The major causes of low immunisation rates are fear of side reactions, lack of knowledge or information, service delivery issues, mistrust or fears, and distance to immunisation sites, among others,’’ Celades said.
He stressed that the benefits of immunisation could only be fully realised when children received all recommended doses of vaccines promptly.
He noted that even in states with well-performing immunisation programmes; there were pockets of unreached or hard-to-reach populations for whom special efforts were needed.
Celades also told newsmen that strengthening routine immunisation and services were critical to achieving high coverage and reaching national and community disease-eliminating targets in Nigeria.
To be fully immunised, children under five years of age are expected to receive BCG, a vaccine against tuberculosis; Oral Polio vaccine, DPT vaccine – a combination of vaccines against diphtheria, pertussis, and tetanus.
They are also expected to receive Hepatitis A and B vaccines; Measles vaccine; Yellow fever vaccine and supplemental vitamin A.
The BCG vaccine is given at birth or as soon as possible after birth; the Oral Polio Vaccine is also given at birth and at six, 10, and 14 weeks of age.
The DPT vaccine is given at six weeks, 10, and 14 weeks of age; the Hepatitis B vaccine is given at birth and at six weeks and 14 weeks of age, while the Measles vaccine is given at nine months of age. (NAN)
Health Professionals Urge Sani to Prioritise Sector in Kaduna
Some experts in the health sector have advised the new Governor of Kaduna State, Uba Sani, to prioritise the sector in order to improve the well-being of the citizens.
The health experts spoke on Wednesday in Kaduna.
Madaki Sheyin, Kaduna State Chairman of the Nigerian Medical Association (NMA), urged the new governor to reverse the trend of brain drain that hit the State especially in the last six years.
According to Sheyin, he should prioritise the health sector because of its importance to the masses.
“Emphasis must be made on human capital development; without a good human resource whatever structures built will not bring the needed gain or positive change,” he said.
He added that training and development, career progression and other incentives would attract manpower to the state.
“Kaduna needs to retain its best hands in the sector and attract many more through improved welfare packages.
“Also, attention must be given to capacity building and development with the right kind of equipment and infrastructure put in place.
“A needs assessment should be done and consultations with relevant stakeholders carried out with the stakeholders being carried along in various stages of policy development and implementation.
He added that public private partnership (PPP) was worth looking at, to curb wastage and improve service delivery and efficiency in the sector.
Dr Nuhu Yusuf, another medical doctor, said improved staff welfare, good working conditions should be one of the priorities the governor should have.
He added that the governor should build good state- of- the- art facilities in the state.
“Fully equipped hospitals, like those obtained in developed countries with modern equipment and should discourage increase in medical tourism.’’
Mr Morakinyo Rilwan, National Chairman, National Association of Nigeria Nurses and Midwives, said the governor should embark on mass employment of nurses and doctors.
“The “japa” syndrome affected health workers in Kaduna seriously and their “japaing” is not to overseas, but to neighbouring states that pay better.
“We congratulate the new administration of governor Sani and our prayers are that God Almighty will guide him to do what is beneficial to the populace.
“However, the expectations of health workers in Kaduna state are not different from what was presented to him during the campaign period when he met with Kaduna state health workers forum and the presentation to the transition committee on May 16.
“So, he should try as much as possible to keep to his campaign promises.
“Hazard allowance should be reviewed upward and we expect him to be workers-friendly unlike his predecessor and dialogue with them on areas that may seem difficult to accomplish.”
He added that health workers, especially nurses suffered in the hands of kidnappers due to lack of security in the hospital and some of these facilities had no perimeter fence.
“Upward review of workers allowances as a motivation for those who are ready to stay back.
“Lastly, he should pay all the arrears of unions and Association check off dues not remitted, to allow professional associations to concentrate on their activities and pay their workers.
“Health facilities should be upgraded with adequate consumables and other working tools,’’ he said. (NAN)
FG Restates Commitment to Increasing Access to Family Planning Programmes
The Federal Government has restated its commitment to enunciating policies that would increase access to family planning programmes for couples.
Dr Boladale Alonge, Director, Family Health, Federal Ministry of Health, restated the commitment on Wednesday in Abuja while declaring open the 2023 Annual Family Planning Technical Review meeting.
Alonge was represented by an official of the ministry, Mrs Bako Aiyegbusi.
Ayegbusi said the Federal Government was determined to eliminate challenges militating against the uptake of family planning programmes.
She explained that the meeting would offer opportunities to close gaps existing in family planning advocacy and implementation.
“It is pertinent to note that the Federal Ministry of Health is working to expand access to family planning commodities.
“The Federal Government has developed policies to ensure that every couple has access to family planning programmes,’’ she said.
She expressed gratitude to UN Population Fund and to other multilateral partners for their support and assured that cultural beliefs and other barriers militating against family planning would be overcome.
In her remarks, Mrs Roseline Ode, Practice Area Lead, Family Planning/Reproductive Health Society for Family Health (an international NGO), said the meeting was necessary to scale up services for family planning.
Ode described family planning as fundamental to reducing maternal mortality rate and promoting the production of qualitative children.
She noted that family planning was imperative for couples the world over.
Dr Ejike Oji, Chairman, Technical Management Committee, Association for the Advancement of Family Planning, another international NGO, said that progress was being made in the implementation of “Family Planning-2030’’ goals.
Oji affirmed Nigeria’s commitment to achieving unmet needs for family planning, which he said was paramount in realising the 27 per cent commitment by Nigeria. (NAN)
Expert Attributes Pelvic Inflammation in Women to Poor Menstrual Hygiene
Dr Abdullahi Kabiru, Consultant Obstetrician and Gynecologist at the Abubakar Tafawa Balewa University Teaching Hospital, Bauchi (ATBUTH), has attributed the cases of pelvic inflammation infection among women to poor menstrual hygiene.
According to him, pelvic inflammation infections are caused by poor sanitary attitude among women, especially the use of unclean sanitary pads.
Kabiru stated this in an interview in Bauchi on Wednesday, saying other infections likely to affect such women are urinary track infection (UTI) and viginal infections.
“Without menstrual hygiene, women are at risk of infections such as the inflammation of the pelvic among others,” he said.
“Communities and parents need to be sensitised on the imperative of menstrual hygiene and management to make women at ease and interact freely in the society,” he added.
“The social, economic and psychological challenges experienced by women during menstruation can led to depression because girls and women are stigmatised,” he said.
He stressed that long-term consequences of the infections could led to issues around pregnancy.
He, therefore, advocated for access to water, disposal items and friendly menstrual toilets in schools to promote good hygiene during the monthly cycles among girls.
He further called for collective effort by the communities and parents towards supporting women to fight all forms of stigmatisation that could lead to depression among them. (NAN)
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