By Michael Peter, The Sight News
Abuja: Survey has shown that Nigeria is still far behind the Global Vaccine Action Plan, GVAP of achieving 90 percent vaccination of children between the ages of 12-23 months old.
According to a Multi Indicator Cluster Survey, MICS/ National Immunisation Coverage Survey, NICS presented by the National Primary Health Care Development Agency, NPHCDA on Thursday in Abuja, Nigeria has only been able to achieve 33% immunisation coverage rate.
The survey report shows that immunisation coverage varies across the nation, with some of the States attaining the 80% mark.
However, findings from the survey show that all the States fall below the global goal of 90 per cent coverage for 3 doses of pentavalent vaccine.
The survey also shows that immunisation performance is weakest in the North East and North West Zones where every State falls below 50 percent penta3 coverage.
It also found that children in rural areas are half as likely to be vaccinated as those in urban areas, stating further that children of younger and less educated caretakers are at greatest risk.
It was also discovered that whereas Child Health Cards are an important part of a child’s health records and critical for evaluating whether children have received their vaccinations, only 1 in every 3 children have child health card in Nigeria.
It says that “States with low immunisation coverage also had low card availability rates”.
Speaking to newsmen at the event, the Executive Secretary, Enugu State Primary Health Care Development Agency, Dr. Hilary Agbo said for every State to improve on its coverage rate, there was need to increase sensitisation, mobilization and the use of grassroots stakeholders to ensure that for every campaign and immunisation activities time is spent to explain and tell the mothers the value of the vaccines.
Dr Agbo also noted that efforts must be made to arouse the volunteer interest of mothers so that they come to seek for the vaccines on behalf of their children rather than mandating them.
“So the driving process should be to increase the interest to go for it. This will stimulate the workers to be on their toes because when the mothers on their own seek for these vaccines for their children, the workers will wake up to their duties. And this will achieve better result”, he said.