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Africa Vaccination Week: NPHCDA targets IDP Camps

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By Ndidi Chukwu

The National Primary Health Care Development Agency, (NPHCDA) has said it will leverage on the gains of Africa Vaccination Week (AVW) and reach out to Internally Displaced Persons in Nigeria. With the goal to boost ‘population immunity’ among vulnerable groups, with main target at the internally displaced persons. “The strategy for boosting the population immunity in IDPs is through outreach services using health camps where integrated health services will be provided” NPHCDA Executive Director, Dr Ado Mohammad told a press conference in Abuja.

Its target is to vaccinate children and adults against vaccine preventable diseases, do medical consultations and treatment of minor illnesses, counselling, health talks, provision of free drugs and other non-medical consumables to Nigerians at IDP Camps.

Despite huge cost of vaccine procurement, the Nigerian Government through the NPHCDA has in the last few  years ensured vaccine availability in health facilities, and has also created demand to ensure utilization of these essential life-saving commodity.

Ado said “Vaccination remains the most cost effective way to ensuring disease prevention and eradication in any given society and it is our collective responsibility to ensure that children and all eligible persons are protected from the vaccine preventable diseases”.  At the many IDP Camps in Nigeria, there has been reported cases of maternal and U-5 mortality caused by vaccine preventable diseases, but the NPHCDA is expressing optimism that its mapped out health outreach starting from 24th – 30th of April, in commemoration of the AVW week, will reduce the death of the most vulnerable groups currently in IDPs before they go back to their homes.

“Our target is to make sure that they are healthy while they are still in camp, we will ensure that children are given vaccines and the pregnant women among them get good antenatal care before their delivery” Ado said

He further said, “One can never imagine the trauma they face, being kept out of their home due to insurgency, on our part ensuring that they are healthy within the time they spend in that camp is what should be done and we will device a means of reaching to them at regular basis, after the AVW”

WHO Country representative, Dr, Rui Gama Vas, in his goodwill message said the outreach for IDPs is a right effort to strengthen routine immunization and prevent new infections from vaccine preventable diseases like Polio which has been interrupted for the past nine months in Nigeria.

“I am glad this is happening now, Nigeria has to keep the tempo, to prevent new infections, especially now that polio have been interrupted in the country, it is my wish and the wish of the WHO, that by July, Nigeria will record one year of polio interruption”

Vaz also commended the surveillance system in place to ensure that no new polio case is missed, as he called for more commitment from all stakeholders to ensure the common goal, {to interrupt polio} in Nigeria is achieved.

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