Senator Iroegbu in Abuja
The World Health Organisation (WHO) will be donating 20 million doses of vaccines annually for the eradication of yellow fever in Nigeria.
The WHO Representative, Dr. Fiona Braka, who disclosed this in Abuja, said efforts must be geared towards containing the outbreak.
This is as the government commences the phase two of vaccination against yellow fever in four states: Kogi, Kwara , Zamfara and Borno states, where the country has recorded outbreaks of the disease.
Braka noted that the phase 1 was completed in 2014 covering 20 states and the Federal Capital Territory with about 10.4 million people vaccinated in the exercise.
She noted that the phase 2 preventive mass campaign is targeting between 09 months to 45 years of age in the vaccination campaign which kicked off recently.
This, she stated, is part of the 2026 programme to vaccinate the entire populace between age 09 months to 45 years of age.
The WHO representative said exercise would be conducted in phases based on the assessment conducted in 2017.
Until the recent outbreak, the country had received a clean bill of health from WHO certifying Nigeria as a yellow fever endemic free country, but the recent pocket of outbreaks in Kogi, Kwara, Zamfara, Niger, Kebbi and Nasarawa may have reversed the trend.
There is however, no proven cure for the disease apart from the preventive vaccination. MThe first outbreak was recorded in September 2017 in Kwara State and later Kogi, Zamfara. Braka also revealed that the global body was ready to assist the country in achieving the total vaccination of the populace in line with the Elimination of Yellow Epidemics (EYE) by 2026.
“The global community is committed to this course and has pledged 20 million doses available annually to achieve the target despite the global vaccine shortfall,” Braka said.
She also noted that the disease is preventable “with available vaccines that is cheap, knowing that there is no cure for the disease but the vaccination is the ultimate way to protect the population.”
She therefore described WHO’s intervention as part of the entire global agenda; stressing that the “response is in line with the global elimination of yellow fever strategy, the EYE strategy.
“As part of the EYE strategy, we must protect hard reach population and must contain outbreak rapidly and must protect international spread. The preventive mass campaign has targeted to vaccinate between 09 months to 45 years of age by 2026 will be conducted in phases based on the assessment conducted in 2017.”
Braka described the planned campaigns scheduled to start as part of the preventive measures to halt the spread and also protect the people. “To ensure that all the population in Nigeria is protected and ultimately, all the states would have been vaccinated before 2026,” she added.
She called on all the people in this bracket age group to come out in large numbers and be vaccinated and protected from this disease.
Also speaking, the Executive Director, National Primary Health Care Development Agency (NPHCDA), Dr. Faisal Shuaib, said that the global non availability of Yellow Fever vaccines resulted in the plan to phase the campaign for the next nine years.
Shuaib however, stressed that this is based on availability of vaccines. “Plans for preventive campaign annually depending on global vaccine availability.”
He noted that all the states will be vaccinated in phases and a tentative plan to that effect has been approved by development partners. NPHCDA boss also stated that about one million doses have been planned for utilisation in Borno during each preventive camping which has been slated for 5-14 February 2018.
He however stressed that only accessible IDPs and their host communities will be covered.
“Subsequent states to be selected based on evolving epidemiology. With next preventive campaign likely in fourth quarter of 2018,” he added.