Immunization can help save 4.6 million lives from vaccines preventable diseases over the next ten years, the Minister of Health, Prof. Issac Adewole has said.He added that the country has not done very well in the area of primary Health Care, saying only one out of four of Nigerian children are fully immunized. The Minister made this known on Monday in Abuja at the sensitization workshop organized for civil servants on immunization as part of the collaboration between the office of Head of Service of the Federation and the National Primary Health Care Development Agency (NPHCDA).
Accordibg to him, ” I am not going to bore you with all the statistics, but the truth is we have not been doing very well in Primary Health. Only on out of four of our children have received the full dosage of the vaccines and that is unfortunate. But what we also know that this thing works.” He however stressed that vaccines saves and it is the most effective interventions that you can ever think of saying, “We stand to lose about 4.5 million children if we don’t immunize”. Reacting to the commendation from the World Health Organization (WHO) that the country has done well in maternal mortality, the minister said the country can do better. On the collaboration with civil servants, the minister said it is timely and very important as “this will be the beginning of a new era in vaccination in Nigeria.” He also noted that the country is not actually in dire need of new health facilities but need to keep the ones on ground going. He therefore urged the civil servants who are made immunization champions to always visit the primary health care facilities to check what is going on. He assured that the vaccines will be there for the children immunization.
Earlier, the Executive Director (NPHCDA) Dr. Faisal Shuaib noted that primary health requires inter-ministerial collaboration and so it should not be left to the ministry of health alone. Shuaib urged the civil servants to use their new role to give back to their community by plying the role of an advocate and also ensure full ownership of the primary health facilities within their domain. He therefore, appealed to them to visit the facilities from time to time and interact with those in charge so as to ensure that things are doe the way they should.