The President of Wellbeing Foundation Africa, Mrs Toyin Saraki, has called on the Federal Government to collaborate with relevant stakeholders to ensure appropriate frameworks for sustainable vaccination trends in the country.
Mrs Saraki, who is also the wife of the President of the Senate, made the call during healthcare innovation award, roundtable and media briefing organised by GlaxoSmithKline and Save the Children in Abuja.
Alma Sana Nigeria, one of the winners in Africa, won $100,000 award for stimulating uptake and demand for immunisation, by wearing a bracelet.
The innovation uses the simple bracelet to empower mothers by presenting them with a constant reminder of their baby’s vaccination schedules.
Toyin Saraki said such stakeholders include NGOs, advocacy bodies, philanthropy funds, and community leaders should be encouraged.
“Policy must make and reflect a greater social obligation to vaccinate promptly, easily, and properly, and enforce this amongst all people. There is need to be better disease surveillance nationally and regionally and an improved disease monitoring system to catch potential outbreaks early are essential if lives are to be saved.
“This requires stronger training for health workers, and greater funding to make this happen, health workers must understand how the reporting mechanism for preventing an outbreak,” she said.
The Wife of the Senate president said better health education and advocacy should be given to citizens on symptoms through media campaigns.
According to her, the country must rebuild community trust in medicine and healthcare workers, so they will look for a doctor or a nurse, when they have symptoms instead of ignoring it or fearing a hospital.
She said there had been a growing misconception about vaccinations as some argue that vaccinations are dangerous and ineffective, with some pseudo-science even hypothesising the link between vaccinations and autism.
The Deputy Country Director of Save the Children, Mr Babatunde Ojei said immunisation was one of the world’s tools for reducing mortality and morbidity. The Managing Director of GSK pharmaceutical, Mr Bhushan Akshikar said the successful implementation of the project would support the Nigerian government to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). “We look forward to the commencement of the pilot programme,” he said.
Alma Sana, US based NGO, a consortium of partners dedicated to helping save children’s lives through timely immunisation.