THE Federal Government has committed the sum of N3.5 billion, to support measles vaccination campaign for children under the age of five holding in different parts of the country in the next six months.
Executive Director and Chief Executive Officer of the National Primary Health Care Agency, NPHCDA, Dr Faisal Shuaib, said the exercise, will hold in different parts of the country in the next six months.
He made this known while briefing newsmen on the 2017/2018 Measles Vaccination Campaign in Abuja on Monday,
The NPHCDA Executive Director assured that with the early release of funds by the Federal Government, which is unprecedented, there is hope of achieving a high quality campaign exercise to drastically reduce the increasing rate of measles related morbidity and mortality among children.
He said the state governments have also promise to release their own counterpart funds before the deadline of September 10, 2017.
He however expressed concern that out of the 36 states and the Federal Capital Territory, only four states (Kebbi, Borno, Nassarawa and Imo) have released their counterpart funds in full.
According to him, four states have also approved but were yet to release the funds, while 29 states are yet to approve their funds.
Shuaib warned that any state who fails to live up to its promises of releasing its counterpart funding to the measles campaign before September 15, 2017, would be putting the lives of all under five children in the state at risk of measles infection, as all defaulting states would be excluded from the next measles vaccination campaign.
He said: “This is a joint resolution that we had between the Ministry of Health, NPHCDA and our development partners. We cannot continue to carry out poor quality campaigns because we do not have the resources to carry out the kind of campaign that will ensure that all children are reached.
“When we have poor quality campaigns, we continue to leave our children vulnerable to measles infection. Poor quality campaigns gives the false impression that we have conducted campaigns and protected our children so if states do not release the necessary funding for these quality campaigns, then it is an indication they are not ready to take part in the next measles campaign.”
The ED lamented that due to persistently low routine measles immunization coverage and relatively low measles follow up in the last three years, there was an increased transmission of measles virus resulting in high morbidity and mortality among children under the age of 10 across the country.
“The number of outbreaks has increased from 166 affecting 140 LGAs to 183 affecting LGAs in 2015 and 2016 respectively. Surveillance data shows that there was a steady increase in measles incidence among children under 5 years In the North from 190 per million in 2014 to 527 per million in 2016.
Speaking on behalf of the development partners, the Country Representative, World Health Organization (WHO), Dr Wondi Alemu, noted that Nigeria can only address the continued measles outbreak, by meeting the required target of 95 per cent routine immunization coverage if the state and local governments provide their counterpart funds.
He lamented that the “continued measles outbreak in Nigeria poses real challenges to the elimination efforts put in place by the country. The routine immunization coverage has not reached optimal levels at subnational level,” and Nigeria did not achieve the desired 95% coverage.
Source: Nigerian Tribune