Onyebuchi Ezigbo in Abuja
The Minister of Health, Dr. Osagie Ehanire has said that he would attempt to catch up with the immunisation of more than three million Nigerian children still not fully immunised.
He lamented that an estimated three million children in Nigeria were yet to be immunised against life threatening diseases despite the efforts mounted in the past years.
The minister’s assurance came just as the federal government launched an Integrated Medical Outreach programme yesterday to ensure more rapid improvement in immunisation outputs and strengthening of primary healthcare.
The programme includes the conduct of immunisation fixed posts, temporary fixed posts, mobile teams and medical outreach sessions.
The minister who spoke at the flag-off ceremony in Bear Area Council headquarters in the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja, said the intervention programme is aimed reaching out to the underserved communities in the country where assessment reports have shown remarkably poor performance in immunisation and other protective vaccines.
He said that despite efforts to immunized 33 per cent of Nigerian has received full doses of immunisation.
Ehanire said the 2015 report shows that there has been significant increase in immunisation rates but that three million children were still not immunised
Executive Secretary, National Primary Healthcare Development Agency, Faizer Shuaibu said the agency was working to revitalise over 4,000 primary healthcare centres across the country.
He said the outreach healthcare programme is to be implemented in each of the 409 lowest performing local government areas in the 36 states and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Abuja.
He said that beginning from Monday next week health officials will commence a new phase of immigration programme targeted at about 409 local government areas.
According to the agency’s boss, the strategic activities will be implemented over a period of five days with the three rounds to be carried out between March 16 and June 5.
It also said that the health programme will be conducted in each of the 109 senatorial districts in the country with immunisation services, treatment of minor ailments provision of free minor surgeries, general medical consultations.
Apart from serving as an avenue for strengthening immunisation and primary healthcare through integration of services,
Minister of State for FCT, Ramatu Tijiani Aliyu, said the capital territory has performed better than other states in the North-central zone in the immunisation programme with 49.6 per cent, which she said is above the national average.
She however regretted that the FCT performed very low in sanitation, with 30 per cent of residents still engaged in open defecation.
In his welcome address, the FCT Secretary Health and Human Services, Mohamned Kawo said the ministry intends to further expand the scheme to reach out to all communities in the federal capital territory.