Kano, 2 Other States Account for 40% Unimmunized Children -UNICEF
The United Nations Children’s Fund, UNICEF, has declared that three states in the North-West region of Nigeria, namely Kano, Katsina, and Jigawa, accounted for about 40% of unimmunized children in the country.
The UNICEF Chief of Kano Field Office, Mr. Rahama Farah stated this during a 2-day media dialogue organized by the fund in Kano on routine immunization and Zero Dose Campaign.Farah who expressed concern over the situation described it as unacceptable and called for concerted actions to reverse the trend.
His words: “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 closer 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,” the UNICEF chief said.Farah added, “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 immunization services their basic fundamental right is not fulfilled.
“Immunization is the single most cost-effective, and high-impact intervention which protects children against illness and death caused by vaccine – preventable diseases.
“Yet, despite proven safety, efficacy, and availability of vaccines, immunization 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 Immunization Coverage Survey Results have shown that over the years, Nigeria has made progress in Immunization coverage, however, it is also clear that gaps exist,” he said.
The UNICEF Chief further urged the governments of the three concerned states sas well as other states with zero-dose local government areas (LGAs), to take concerted action to strengthen their Primary Healthcare Systems.
“This include implementing 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. Additionally, to ensure an integrated package of primary health services are provided to families in one functional health facility.
“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 immunization demand creation.
“Provide essential medicines and health commodities, infrastructure,electricity, and water supply for quality integrated Primary Health Care service for people,” Farah however stated.
The UNICEF Chief however appealed to media practitioners across the country to create a demand for immunization and raise awareness of its importance by providing accurate information to caregivers, families, and communities in order to change the narratives.