By Asmau Ahmad
Nigeria has about 100 Local Government Areas that have been categorised as Zero Dose areas in view of the high number of children who have never received vaccination.
Mr Rahama Farah, the UNICEF Chief, Kano Field Office, revealed this on Thursday in Katsina at the launch of distribution of 198 motorcycles for routine immunisation for officers and ward focal persons.
The Katsina State Government distributed the motorcycles to ensure optimal coverage of routine immunisation and other primary health care services across the state.
Farah, who was represented by Ms Abimbola Aman, a UNICEF Health Specialist, said that out of the 100 areas, Katsina State has eight LGAs, namely Batagarawa, Baure, Funtua, Kankara, Katsina, Mani, Rimi and Safana.
The UNICEF chief said “zero-dose children remain vulnerable to vaccine-preventable diseases, along with un/under-immunised or “missed dose” children, which refers to those who do not complete their immunisation in the National Immunisation schedule.
“I urge the government, traditional, religious, community leaders, and everyone to forge partnerships to ensure that every child in Katsina State is immunised.
“I also implore mothers and caregivers to ensure that children receive all relevant childhood vaccines as contained in the country’s routine immunisation schedule.
“They should also ensure that children, within the target age groups, receive other vaccines given during Supplemental Immunisation Activities (SIAs), including Oral Polio Vaccine (OPV) and Inactivated Polio Vaccine (IPV) for children less than five years.
“There is also the need to ensure that girls between nine and 14 years receive HPV vaccine, yellow fever, and other vaccines at different times (depending on epidemiology of diseases).”
Farah also urged the Katsina State government to take concerted action to strengthen the Primary Healthcare System by implementing the Primary Health Care Under One Roof Policy to ensure one-stop functional primary health care centre per ward in all wards.
According to him, government should also increase strategic interventions to address persistent gaps in human resources and increase the numbers, quality, and distribution of critical cadres of health workers.
He stressed the need to increase vaccinators, Community Health Influencers and Promoters Services (CHIPS) agents for immunisation creation.
“Government should also ensure provision of essential medicines and health commodities, infrastructure, electricity, and water supply for quality integrated Primary Health Care service for the people.
“UNICEF remains a trusted partner and would continue to support children, people and government of the state,” the UNICEF Chief assured.