By Asma’u Ahmad
The Executive Director of the National Primary Health Care Development Agency (NPHCDA), Dr Faisal Shuaib on Tuesday said the National Routine Immunisation coverage had reached 58 per cent.
He disclosed this at the NPHCDA National Emergency Routine Immunisation Coordination Centers (NERICC) engagement workshop with low performing local government areas held in Kaduna.
He said available immunisation coverage data showed that the coverage rose from the initial 30 per cent to 58 per cent at the end of third quarter this year.
The Executive Director said the agency recorded eight per cent average annual increase in routine immunisation coverage across the country between 2016 to date.
He said the engagement between low performing LGAs and high performing ones was part of the sustained effort to completely eradicate polio in the country within the targeted period.
“Recent studies conducted indicate that between 2016 and the present time, we have seen an average eight per cent increase in routine immunisation coverage across the country.
“Eight per cent is two per cent above the six per cent target, though it might appear as if it is just marginal, but in the routine immunisation space, but it is unprecedented.
“Never before have we seen this kind of huge jump anywhere in the world that within a period of two years we actually achieve an average eight percent increase in routine immunisation,“ Shuaib said.
According to him, if the positive trajectory continues in the next eight months, and with access to some of the areas in the North East, Nigeria would be declared Polio free.
He said the President Mohammadu Buhari would soon launch the National Primary Health Care Fund, to boost the healthcare services to mothers and children under five.
He identified getting caregivers to bring out their children for immunisation, access roads, and standard health care facilities were major challenges to the organisation.
He however said the Federal Government had put measures in place including the provision of standard Primary Health Care Centers in each political ward to increase access to difficult areas.
He urged stakeholders at the meeting to evolve more strategies for continued routine immunisation to ensure total eradication of wild polio virus.
Newsmen report that there has been no record of wild polio outbreak in the country in the last 25 months.
Meanwhile, the NPHCDA has said the objective of the meeting was to obtain a reviewed commitment on improving Routine Immunisation (RI) from low performing LGAs.
It said that the event would provide feedback to states and LGAs on RI performance using results from Q4 of 2017 to Q3 of 2018 exercise.
Newsmen also report that immunisation officials from 105 LGAs drawn from 5 northern states identified as low performing, areas are attending the event.
Others are officials of the agency at national and states levels, representatives of International Vaccine Access Center (IVAC), WHO, UNICEF and donor agencies.