Onuminya Innocent in Sokoto
The National Primary Health Care Development Agency (NPHCDA) has disclosed that over 800,000 children in Kaduna, Niger, Zamfara, Kebbi, Katsina and Sokoto States were denied access to any routine immunisation due to banditry.
Speaking at strategic meeting with traditional leaders of inaccessible areas in six states on PHC’s delivery held in Sokoto, the Executive Director of NPHCDA, Dr. Faisal Shuaib, said that the trend is as a result of bandits’ activities in the areas.
Shuaib said that the strategic meeting is a turning point in their approach to reach children for vaccination against vaccine preventable diseases.
He also said that the gesture is a reflection of the commitment of the traditional institution in northern Nigeria for the provision of effective health service delivery to their communities.
He explained that inaccessibility is a formidable threat to our efforts to interrupt the transmission of circulating Variant Polio Virus Type Two (cVPV2) currently spreading in some states in the country.
Shuaib stated that inaccessibility to vaccination would derail the agency’s efforts and make other children vulnerable to polio virus infection.
The meeting was organised by Sultan Foundation of Peace and Development (SFPD) in collaboration with NPHCDA.
He further explained that the meeting was aimed at promoting an effective primary health care delivery to the people of the region in particular and Nigeria in general.
Shuaib said: “As respected leaders of our nation, I respectfully implore your majesties to consistently advocate for immunisation and other Primary Health Care (PHC) services. By utilising your influential and revered position in society to emphasise the significance of regular immunisation and other PHC services to parents and caregivers, we can overcome obstacles and enhance the acceptance of vaccines, ensuring that every child receives these life-saving treatments.
“By taking this action, we can stop the spread of cVPV2 and achieve a comprehensive enhancement in the health and welfare of our communities.
“The HPV vaccine is highly effective in preventing the most common types of Human Papilloma Virus that cause cervical and other types of cancers. We would be reaching out to you to help communicate to your communities the importance of these vaccines.”
The NPHCDA boss further noted that the meeting presented another opportunity to deliberate and devise strategies to tackle the challenges facing the PHC system in the zone, identify service delivery gaps, and explore innovative solutions to enhance PHC services in various communities through collaborative efforts.
According to him, “immunisation, particularly the eradication of all forms of vaccine-preventable diseases, for example, polio virus, remains our top priority. Your involvement as traditional leaders in promoting vaccination campaigns and community mobilization has been pivotal in our progress thus far.
“With your support, we have achieved remarkable milestones, witnessing a significant decline in cases of circulating variant polio virus type 2 (cVPV2) in the zone. However, our work is not yet complete. We must persistently labor until we reach the finish line, ensuring that future generations are shielded from this debilitating disease and other vaccine-preventable diseases.”
On her part, the UNICEF Country Representative, Ms. Cristian Munduate, who was represented by the Head of Sokoto Field Office, Ms. Maryam Sa’id, said that the UNICEF has provided million doses of vaccine for the country.
Munduate further stated that UNICEF would continue to render technical support to Nigeria for effective health service delivery.
Speaking also the Sultan of Sokoto, Alhaji Muhammad Sa’ad Abubakar 111, who was represented by the Emir of Argungu, Alhaji Samaila Mera, said that as leaders of the people they would find alternative ways of reaching inaccessible areas.
He noted that some of these people are in IDPs in Niger Republic and other places in Nigeria that saying that the traditional leaders would communicate them to avail their children for vaccination.