By Asmau Ahmad
Community Health and Research Initiative (CHR) through its Chairman, Board of Trustees, Dr Aminu Magashi Garba had call on the Minister of Health, Professor Isaac Adewole to ensure that girls in hard to reach areas are not left behind and that all girls have access to important vaccines such as the Tetanus, Rubella and the Human Papiloma Virus (HPV) Vaccine, which offers protection against 70% of incidences of Cervical Cancer, which claims the lives of an estimated 266,000 women and girls a year.
This was contained in a press statement shared to media houses as part of the marking the International Day of the Girl Child being witnessed all over the world on 11th October 2017. It was also in line with the ‘33 days to Power Up Immunization’ campaign being championed in 10 African countries.
The campaign seeks to hold governments accountable for the multiple promises they have made to support Immunization. In 2016, the continent marked significant achievements of interrupting the near elimination of Meningococcal Meningitis A epidemic and the significant reduction in disease burden and child mortality due to Measles.
The press statement also quoted the 2016 Multi Indicator Coverage Survey/National Immunization Coverage Survey (MICS/NICS) report which reported Nigeria recording only 23% of children (aged 12 – 23 months) fully vaccinated with another 37% partially vaccinated and some of the states in Northern Nigeria were reporting below 20% immunization coverage.
“We recognize the efforts that have gone into reaching the current levels by the Nigerian government, however, much more needs to be done if we are to reach the 2020 goals that our government has set in the Global Vaccine Action Plan (GVAP) of reaching 90% immunization coverage nationally and 80% in every state by 2020 ……… we also call on the Nigerian government to prioritize increase in the national and states budget to finance immunization and ensure timely and efficient releases of immunization funds.” says CHR