Routine Immunization: 600,000 children unimmunized in Northwest – UNICEF
…Says situation unacceptable
By Faith Awa Maji, Katsina
Myths and misinformation around routine immunization in the three Northwest States of Kano, Katsina, and Jigawa may have left over 600,000 children unimmunized, according to the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF).
The UNICEF Chief, Kano Field Office, Mr. Rahama Rihood Mohammed Farah, made the disclosure on Wednesday at the opening ceremony of a two-day Media Dialogue on Routine Immunization and the Zero Dose campaign, in Kano.
According to him, “despite proven safety, efficacy, and availability of vaccines, immunisation uptake has not always been optimal.
“Myths, disinformation, misinformation, and rumours, have contributed a great deal to poor immunization uptake, exposing children to high risk and death that can be avoidable when they don’t get immunized.
“The National Imnunization Coverage Survey Results have shown that over the years, Nigeria has made progress in Immunization coverage, however, it is also clear that gaps exist.
“For instance, 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 is loser to about 40% of the total unimmunized 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.
“As the UN agency mandated for the protection and promotion of children’s rights, we are extremely concerned, when children don’t get immunized, when children have no access to immunizations services their basic fundamental right is not fulfilled.
“I therefore, urge media participants at the Media Dialogue today, and indeed every media practitioner across the country, to create the demand for
immunization and to raise awareness of the importance of Immunization by
providing accurate information to caregivers, families, and communities.”
He urged traditional, religious, community leaders, and civil society organizations, to forge partnerships to
eliminate the number of unimmunized children in Nigeria.
He called on State governments especially the three States and with Zero-Dose LGAs, to take concerted action to strengthen their Primary Healthcare System to among other things, implement the Nigeria Primary Health Care Under One Roof Policy to ensure one-stop functional Primary Health Care Centre per ward particularly those LGAS with unimmunized children, ensure an integrated package of Primary Health Services are provided to families in one functional health facility.
In his message, the Kano State Commissioner of Health, Abubakar Labaran said the State government had identified some killer diseases aside immunization but assured that they will soon be taken care.
“We are going to constitute task force comprises traditional rulers because our people recognize the traditional institution. This is aimed at ending child killer diseases,” he said.