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Immunization: Sokoto set for increased coverage as it achieve 59%



Dr Ali Inname, the Sokoto state Commissioner for Health has challenged the immunization stakeholders to work harder in order to achieve 80 per cent performance of coverage target.

Inname stated this Monday in Sokoto at the opening session of the Sokoto state Council on Health meeting with the theme ‘Community Engagement as a tool for achieving universal health coverage.’

He said Sokoto state had recorded significant leap in routine Immunisation coverage from single digit 3 per cent to 59 per cent.

“We had single digit of 3 per cent but in the first quarter of 2019, we moved to 59 per cent. This important leap is the hard work of all stakeholders in the sector.” Inname said.

“Last week we received commendation letter from the National Healthcare Development Agency on the significant improvement in routine immunization.

“The whole world now is focusing more aggressively towards achieving universal health coverage as a tool to achieving health for all.” the Commissioner said.

“Government of Sokoto led by Gov. Aminu Tambuwal has taken steps in establishing contributory health scheme as a tool to achieve universal health coverage for all residents of Sokoto state,” he added.

On the state council on health meeting, Inname said the last one was held 10 years ago.

He described this year’s meeting as a landmark achievement of the

Tambuwal-led administration.

“It is the resolution of the National Council on Health that all states should have at least one state council on health meeting preceding the National Council on Health meeting to review the challenges in the states,” he said.

According to him, the Council on Health meeting will discuss policies and challenges bedevilling the health sector and come up with resolution that would improve healthcare services in the state.

He noted that it would play a vital role in delivering quality healthcare services to the people of the state.

Representative of World Health Organisation, (WHO) Dr Mayana Sanusi,

said for some reasons, the state could not hold the meeting in the last 10 years but with the support of the European Union, through World Health Organisation, “we find it very important to support the state on it.”

Sanusi sait it was a deliberate move to address key challenges in primary health care, secondary and tertiary heath care services.

He identified challenges at each level of healthcare service that comprised inadequate equipment, human resources and community engagement.

” These are some of issues that the council will deliberate on to improve healthcare services in the state.” Sanusi said.

Earlier, Permanent Secretary Ministry of Health, Alhaji Al-Mustapha Othman, assured that Sokoto state would continue to abide by the resolution of the National Council on Health meeting by

conducting state council on health meeting every year.

Othman said the move would go along way in ensuring quality healthcare delivery.



Interruption of immunization services putting tens of millions of children at risk: WHO chief




The World Health Organization (WHO) Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus on Friday warned that the COVID-19 outbreak undermines life-saving immunization services around the world, putting tens of millions of children at risk.

Speaking at a virtual press conference from Geneva, the WHO chief said that as the world comes together to develop a safe and effective vaccine for COVID-19, countries must not forget the dozens of lifesaving vaccines that already exist and must continue to reach children everywhere.

“Initial analysis suggests the provision of routine immunization services is substantially hindered in at least 68 countries and is likely to affect approximately 80 million children under the age of 1 living in these countries,” he said.

“Any suspension of childhood vaccination services is a major threat to life,” the WHO chief added.

He stressed that maintaining people’s trust in the ability of health systems to provide essential services safely is crucial to ensuring people continue to seek care when needed and follow public health advice.

According to him, the WHO will soon publish new guidance on implementing mass vaccination campaigns in the context of COVID-19.

“Since the turn of the century, child mortality has been halved in large part because of the power of safe and effective vaccination,” he said, adding that the WHO is working with governments around the world to ensure supply chains remain open and lifesaving health services are reaching all communities.


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WHO, UNICEF highlight importance of routine immunization during COVID-19 pandemic




Two UN agencies said on Monday that as scientists around the world work to develop a vaccine against the novel coronavirus, governments must use every opportunity possible to protect people from the many diseases for which vaccines are already available.

The United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) and the World Health Organization (WHO) said in a joint statement that the urgent need for a COVID-19 vaccine underscores the pivotal role immunizations play in protecting lives and economies.

“When routine vaccinations are missed, the risk of disease outbreaks increases,” the joint statement said.

According to the joint statement, in 2018, approximately 527,000 children missed their first dose of measles-containing vaccine in the WHO European Region, and then in 2019, the measles virus exposed immunity gaps in Europe, infecting over 100,000 people across all age groups.

“Protecting children, adolescents and adults from vaccine-preventable diseases through vaccination is a must for the sustainability of health care systems,” the statement noted.

The two agencies also urged countries to be prepared to vaccinate those at higher risk and ensure everyone, including the most marginalized, will have equal access to a COVID-19 vaccine when it becomes available.

“As we step into a new future, vaccines will continue to serve as a foundation for health and well-being for all. It is through solidarity, joint action and tireless commitment to leaving no one behind that we can create a healthier future together,” read the statement.

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Kano LG targets 43,000 children for immunization in February



Garun Malam Local Government Area of Kano state says it is targeting over 43,000 children below the age of five, for the February round of Immunization Plus Days.

The Primary Health Care Coordinator of the area, Malam Idris Bebeji, disclosed this to newsmen while monitoring the exercise on Monday.

He said that residents were enlightened about the exercise and were fully cooperating and immunising their wards.

He explained that the health unit, with support of the local government and other stakeholders, had recorded huge success in the area of immunization.

Bebeji stressed the commitment of the health care department of the local government, in ensuring the success of the exercise.

Speaking on the exercise, the Chairman of the local government, Alhaji Mudassir Dakasoye, commended the efforts of the traditional and religious rulers in the area.

He said that they played a vital role in creating awareness and understanding of residents on the importance of the exercise.

Dakasoye, however, appealed to parents to sustain the tempo and ensure their children were immunized in the subsequent rounds of the exercise.

The February round of the exercise kicked off on Feb. 15 and would end Feb. 18 in all the 44 local government areas.

Edited By: Ismail Abdulaziz

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Immunization: Jigawa Council targets 51, 316 children



Garki Local Government Council of Jigawa says it is targeting to vaccinate about 51,316 children against polio in the ongoing immunisation campaign in the area.

Mr Ahmad Fankami, the Local Government Immunisation Officer said this through the council’s spokesman, Malam Ya’u Garba on Saturday.

Fankami said the state’s Primary Healthcare Development Agency had supplied 55,000 doses of Oral Polio Vaccines (OPVs) for the exercise.

He explained that 515 ad hoc staff had been engaged to conduct the exercise which commenced Feb. 14 and would end Feb. 16.

The LIO added that all the necessary arrangements had been made to reach the targeted children.

Fankami appealed to parents and guardians to cooperate with the health workers and ensure that their children and wards were immunised during the exercise.

Edited By: Taiye Agbaje/Ese E. Ekama

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Immunization, foundation of Primary Health Care system in Nigeria



The National Primary Health Care Development Agency( NPHCDA), says immunization is the foundation of Primary Health Care (PHC) system in the country.

Dr Faisal Shuaib, the Executive Director NPHCDA said this at the Expanded Interagency Coordination Conmittee (ICC) to review Nigeria’s Strategy on Immunization and Primary Health Care System Strengthening (NSIPSS) on Tuesday in Abuja.

Nigeria News Agency reports that meeting was the first high-level gathering by GAVI Board and Alliance Gavi since the inception of NSIPPS accountability framework.

Shuaib said that immunization was also a key tracer of PHC performance, while emphasising the importance of routine immunization in the fight against any disease outbreak.

He disclosed that the President Mohammadu Buhari-led administration remains committed toward ensuring that primary healthcare was available to all citizens.

The NPHCDA boss highlighted Nigeria’s strong and improved collaboration with GAVI in its support to Nigeria’s vaccine coverage.

According to Shuaib,  the NPHCDA is working with the Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) in prevention and response to outbreaks of Vaccine Preventable Diseases.

“A major outbreak of an infectious disease can hugely affect our economy. That’s why NPHCDA is working closely with NCDC and other key stakeholders and partners to ensure disease outbreaks do not happen,” he said.

He said that the collaboration became necessary for a harmonised efforts and resources as well as to minimise duplication in the country.

Dr Chikwe Ihekweazu, the director-general, NCDC said that workforce development was a critical component of the work they do at the centre.

Ihekweazu outlined the NCDC efforts to strengthen surveillance for vaccine preventable diseases in the country.

He reviewed the NCDC’s surveillance reporting and data management tools and protocols to ensure their validity, and the accuracy of disease reporting for improved response to infectious disease outbreaks in the country.

The NCDC boss linked some challenges to the delay in reception of reagents from global stock to non- integrated sample transportation systems point of collection of state as well as state to laboratory.

According to him, others are the need for an improved laboratory quality management system and human resource capacity in individual laboratories in the country.

Ihekweazu disclosed that GAVI had continued to support the NCDC to strengthen surveillance Outbreak Response Management Analysis System (SORMAS).

He said that NCDC was working with GAVI to improve supply chain of measles, yellow fever and rubella test kits, expand diagnostics capacity for measles, yellow fever and rubella for network laboratory.

He disclosed that GAVI was also working with NCDC to build capacity of surveillance officers in the states and to expand sentinel sites for Congenital Rubella Syndrome (CRS).

Earlier, Dr Seth Berkley, the Chief Executive Officer of Gavi, appreciated the Nigerian government for receiving the Gavi high level team to discuss how vaccines would work for all Nigerians as well as stregthening the primary health care


Berkley recognised the efforts of the Nigerian government through NCDC in improving the detection of vaccine preventable diseases. 

Edited by: Ese E. Ekama


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Bauchi polio immunization to reduce proportion of ‘missed children’



Bauchi State Government and  Development Partners have resolved to fast-track polio immunisation in the state to reduce  proportion of ‘missed children’during such exercises.

Dr Rilwanu Mohammmed,  Chairman, State Primary Health Care Development Agency (SPHCDA) stated this during the commemoration of World Polio Day in Bauchi on Thursday.

He said the state did not recorded any new case of wild polio virus since the year 2013.

He explained that every citizen owed it a duty to partake in the effort at making the state and the country, polio virus-free  by June 2020.

In his remarks, State Coordinator, World Health Organisation (WHO), Dr Adamu Ningi,  urged traditional and religious leaders to mobilize and encourage their respective communities to immunize children against the virus.

He said records had indicated a reduction cases of rejection of polio vaccines by individuals and communities in the state.


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Meningitis: Kwara Deputy Gov. tasks traditional, religious leaders to encourage immunization



The Deputy Governor of Kwara, Mr Kayode Alabi,  has called on traditional and religious leaders in the state to encourage their subjects and adherents to take their children to health facilities for meningitis vaccination.

Alabi made the call on Tuesday at Pakata, Ilorin West Local Government Area of Kwara at the launch of inclusion of Meningitis A vaccine into routine immunisation in the state.

He said meningitis vaccine was for children between the age of nine and 15 months across the 16 local government areas of the state.

The deputy governor warned that outbreak of meningitis could result in death in more than half of the people who were infected if not treated, adding that 10 to 20 per cent of those who survived, developed permanent damage of one part of their organs or the other.

Alabi added that “the disease has a seasonal trend with peak in the middle of dry season, which occurs mostly in the northern states affecting all ages.”

He reaffirmed that the best way to prevent meningitis was through vaccination, while other preventive measures included good personal hygiene, avoiding overcrowding and exclusive breastfeeding.

Dr Abimbola Folorunso, the Executive Secretary, Kwara State Primary Health Care Development Agency, also urged mothers and caregivers to make their children available for meningitis vaccination.

Folorunso said that the vaccination was free and readily available in health facilities in the state.

She explained that the vaccine would protect their children for many years, while also boosting their immunity, saying “we don’t want our children to die from preventable diseases”.


Edited by Razak Owolabi/ Hadiza Mohammed-Aliyu

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Bauchi Yellow Fever disease triggers immunization of boundary community residents in Gombe



Following the outbreak of Yellow Fever disease in Bauchi state, neighbouring Gombe state says it has commenced immunisastion of vulnerable persons in the state (Gombe) against the disease.

Malam Musa Kuna, Deputy Director, Primary Health, Gombe State Primary Health Care Development Agency, stated this in an interview with Nigeria News Agency in Gombe on Thursday.

He said the exercise,which commenced on Wednesday, targeted residents of communities sharing boundaries with Bauchi state, as well as traders who visited village markets in Bauchi to transact business.

Also speaking, the State Epidemiologist, Dr. Nuhu Ville, said six suspected cases were identified and their blood samples collected and sent to a laboratory in Abuja for screening.

He said the state Rapid Response team had been proactive even before the declaration of the outbreak in Bauchi and Kano states.

“This is because Gombe shares boundary with Bauchi state and people go in and come out on daily basis”, he explained.

He named the symptoms of yellow fever as headache, body pain, yellowish eyes discoloration and vomiting, saying people who noticed these symptoms should quickly seek medical help.

recalls that cases of Yellow Fever were recorded at Yankari Games Reserve in Bauchi, resulting in death of some visitors to the Reserve.

Sequel to the development, both the State and Federal Ministries of Health swung into action to check the spread of the disease by immunizing residents of Alkaleri Local Government against the disease, especially those in close proximity to the Reserve.

The Yankari Games Reserve is located in Alkaleri Local Government Area of Bauchi and the area shares boundary with Gombe state.

Bauchi state governor, Bala Mohammed, had, during an interactive session with journalists on Saturday, confirmed the outbreak of the disease at the Reserve, but assured that the problem would be tackled decisively.

The governor, himself an indigene of Alkaleri Local Government, had also requested the Fedral Government to take over the Reserve  and turn it to a National Park.

Edited by Kevin Okunzuwa


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Gates Foundation lauds Borno Govt. over polio immunization campaign



The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation has commended the Borno State Government over its commitments to eradicating polio disease in spite of challenges by the Boko Haram insurgency.

Malam Isa Gusau, the Special Assistant on Media to Gov. Babagana Zulum, made the disclosure in a statement, on Friday in Maiduguri.

Gusau disclosed that Mr Bill Gates, the Chairman of the foundation, made the commendation during a video conference for the mid-year review of polio immunisation campaign, held at its headquarters in Abuja.

He disclosed that the meeting was attended by Zulum, Aliko Dangote, Shehu of Borno, Alhaji Abubakar Garbai El-Kanemi, Dr Faisal Shuaib, the Executive Director, National Primary Healthcare Development Agency (NPHCDA) and representatives of the World Health Organisation (WHO).

Gusau said that Gates had described the efforts of the state government in the fight against polio disease as “impressive”, adding that the philanthropist also expressed joy over the synergy demonstrated between the government and military.

He reportedly said that the synergy facilitated smooth conduct of immunization exercises enhancing coverage in crisis prone areas.

“Gates is happy with the inclusion of primary healthcare in the Zulum’s 10-point development agenda.

Gusau also quoted Dangote as advocating for proactive steps to addressing challenges, expanding immunization coverage and improving management to increase access to more fund.

He further quoted Zulum as expressing gratitude to Gates and Dangote over their support towards improving primary healthcare service delivery in the state.

“Zulum identified interventions by Gates‎ Foundation on provision of livelihoods for displaced persons in Kaga Local Government Area of the state in the past three years, and Dangote’s major donation of building materials worth over N2 billion in 2016; which went a long way in reconstruction and resettlement efforts”.

Gusau added that the governor announced that his administration had began construction of seven health facilities at Hawul, Gwoza, Kala-Balge, Askira-Uba and Jere local government areas of the state.

Zulum promised to ensure immediate release of counterpart fund to facilitate smooth conduct of July and September round of immunisation campaigns, as well as mobilize participation of community leaders in the exercise.

According to him, El-Kanemi also pledged support to ensure effective coverage in the exercise.

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