Save the Children International, Nigeria (SCIN) tells the federal government (FG) to end vaccine-preventable deaths in childhood by improving partnerships in states and local governments.
The advice comes from the leading international child’s rights advocacy group as the world celebrates World Immunisation Week with the theme: “Long Life for All”.
The group also tells the government to put immunization on a high pedestal of the sustainable development agenda.
SCIN notes that vaccinated communities benefit from being healthy, productive, and resilient to preventable deaths.
According to SCIN, “there is a dire need to accelerate vaccine coverage by supporting Gavi’s 2020 replenishment and ensure investment drives for more equitable vaccination coverage”.
The group advises the government to prioritise vaccination to improve vaccine affordability, especially for children and other vulnerable groups.
The World Health Organisation (WHO) and United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) set aside April 24-30 yearly to lead the campaign on new innovations to promote long life for all through vaccines that ensure preventable deaths.
The main objective of the week is to promote the use of vaccines in preventable deaths around the world.
The action will make people of all ages get vaccinated and be protected from serious infectious diseases that lead to preventable deaths.
According to the Interim Country Director, SCIN, Shannon Ward, “Every child needs to be vaccinated against preventable diseases.
“These diseases can negatively impact the quality of life and cause death. We welcome increased emphasis and training for health workers and community members on the many benefits of immunization”, says Ward.
Immunization prevents diseases, disabilities, and deaths from vaccine-preventable diseases (VPDs) such as diphtheria, hepatitis B, measles, and pneumonia.
Director of Advocacy, Campaigns, Communication, and Media, Amanuel Mamo equally asks the government to urgently support an increase in domestic investment in the health sector to meet the 15% target of the Abuja Declaration (2001).
Mama wants an increase in health spending that improves child health services; such as removal of user fees, reduction in non-financial barriers to accessing care, and prioritizing primary health services, among others.
Mamo also urges focus on zero-dose children; saying, “This is particularly important because those who are reached with the first vaccine are highly likely to also receive remaining dosages.”
Mamo also points out, “This week provides us an opportunity to increase public awareness about the importance of every person’s need and rights, including that of children, girls, women, and people with disabilities, to be protected from vaccine-preventable diseases.
“We call for increased coordination, collaboration with, and support of stakeholders and the government to be able to deliver high-quality, timely, free, and accessible immunization programmes at all levels”, adds Mamo.
Data shows global vaccination rates have dropped to levels not seen in a decade. About 3.5 million children received vaccines in 2020 compared to 2019.
The outbreak of The COVID-19 pandemic is the reason for the disruption of immunization services.
Millions of children are at greater risk of missing out on critical vaccinations. notes SCIN
Some of the diseases increasingly threatening among Nigerian children include measles, mumps, whooping cough, pneumonia, and poliomyelitis.
Save the Children believes that immunization helps save millions of lives and it is one of the world’s most successful interventions for preventable deaths.