Lafia, April 24, 2019. Health stakeholders in Nasarawa state have called on journalists to offer more effective coverage and sensitisation on immunisation to enlighten residents on the importance of immunisation, especially for children below five years.
They made the call in Lafia on Wednesday at the inauguration of the celebration of the African Vaccination Week (AVW) organised by the Nasarawa state Primary Healthcare Development Agency (NPHDA) in collaboration with health partners in the state.
The News Agency of Nigeria reports that the theme of the 2019 week-long celebration is “Protected Together, Vaccine Works.”
Dr Mohammed Adiz, Executive Chairman, Nasarawa State Primary Healthcare Development Agency, said the high rate of unvaccinated children was partly due to inadequate coverage and sensitisation by the media.
He advised journalists to support health workers with adequate coverage on immunisation in the area.
Adiz said the main goal of the week was to raise awareness about the critical importance of full immunisation in the life children.
“Some of the activities lined up for the week will focus on demonstrating the value of vaccines for the health of children, the communities and the world.
“There will also be highlight the need to build on immunisation progress while addressing gaps among others.
“We urge our media friends to take advantage of this busy week to highlight the importance and need for vaccination of our children across the state.
“We are grateful for the effort so far and call for improved synergy to achieve maximum result,” he said.
Dr Stephen Sasetu, Director, Planning, Research and Statistics at the agency said every stakeholder, including journalists, was important in the drive to vaccinate all children against diseases that might negatively impact on their lives.
He said effective media coverage and sensitisation of the importance of immunization was one of the most important ways of reaching families as far as in the hinterlands.
“It is very critical for all stakeholders, including journalists, to redouble their efforts so as to achieve the target of immunising every child and person in our society.
“We all need to do more in spite of what we have achieved so far,” he said.
Dr Idang Ebong, Coordinator, World Health Organisation (WHO) in the state disclosed that about 12,390 children were yet to be not vaccinated in the state.
He also called on the media and other stakeholders to build on the week to reduce the numbers.
“Those most affected are the poor. So we need our journalists to step up and spread the message that, immunisation is free and easily available.
“We are happy that the media is here, help us spread this message so that more children can have access to immunisation,” she said.