By: Joy Odor/Kaduna
A nationwide data reported in a recent release 2016 World Health Organization (WHO) and UNICEF estimate of National Immunization Coverage has revealed that there were 8 countries that had less than 50% coverage with DPT 3.
They include Central African Republic, Chad, Equatorial Guinea, Nigeria, Somalia, South Sudan, Syrian, Arab Republic and Ukraine.
The date also revealed that world-wide, an estimated 12.9 million infants, nearly 1 in 10 did not received any vaccinations in 2016 and per DPT while additional estimated 6.6 million infants who did received their first dose of DPT-containing vaccine did not complete the full, three does DPT immunization series in 2016.
According to the release, although Nigeria is among the few countries reported in the 2016 estimated to have a less that 50% coverage with DPT3, the development underpin the transparent commitment of the Nigerian government in reporting accurate data which will tremendously boost effort to improve immunization services nationwide and also help to step-up efforts in the states where coverage was at its lowest level.
“As opined by Experts, amid the stagnation and even regression in some countries, a clear positive has emerged this year: better, more accurate data. For the first time at the global level, WHO and UNICEF received immunization coverage data at the sub-national level for 125 of 194 countries, 89 of which reported data even further down to lower administrative (district) levels covering a combined population of 88 million. This change represents a huge leap forward in a remarkable short period. And counties like Nigeria deserved our highest praise for reporting the most accurate estimated of coverage, not the highest possible number.
As a result, the Nigerian government, despite immense administration and security challenges, is better placed to map out gaps in coverage and respond appropriately. Nigeria’s courageous leadership demonstrates how serious commitment to reaching every child with immunizations states with accurate data”.
With this new found commitment to accurate data, our chances of succeeding have never been greater. Why? Because accurate data can completely change how we deliver vaccines. More detailed data can help identify patterns and give us new insights into why these gaps persist, opening the door to new solution” said the release.
In a statement issued on Saturday in Kaduna and made available to newsmen, the Chairman, Board of Trustees, Community Health Research Initiative (CHR) , Dr. Aminu Magashi Garba said the Initiative is committed to support Nigerians government at federal and sub-national levels through strategic advocacy to political actors and policymakers to maximize the gains of having correct and transparent data to fiance immunization using government budgets and promote timely releases of finances leading to the change we all hoped to see.
“CHR and Track Health, a National Civil Society Accountability Coalition has commended the effort on the Federal Ministry of Health under the leadership of the Hon. Minister of Health, Professor Isaac Adewole for improved transparency in reporting for the first time an improved and quality data on immunization estimates nationwide” he said.
Also quoted the Deputy Chairman, House of Representatives Committee on Health, Alhaji Muhammad Usman in the statement, assured that the Legislators will strengthen the oversight function for Nigerian government to improve immunization and revitalize primary health care services within the shortest possible time.
According to him, all hands must be on deck to ensure sustained and rigorous immunization services in all the 36 sates of the federation plus FCT.
Contributing in the statement, the Co-Chair, Track Health, Mrs. Chika Offor has disclosed that for every 1$ invested in immunization in Africa, 41$ is gained in economic and social benefits.
This, she said, means that investing in immunization in Nigeria to the teeming children is the answer to national sustainable growth and development and encourage for a concerted effort at national and sub-national levels to utilize the improved quality data and step-up campaigned and ensure no child is left behind.