Amid the stagnation and even regression in some countries, a clear positive has also emerged this year: better, more accurate data. For the first time at the global level, WHO and UNICEF received immunization coverage data at the subnational level for 125 of 194 countries — 89 of which reported data even further down to lower administrative (“district”) levels covering a combined population of 88 million.
This change represents a huge leap forward in a remarkably short period. And countries like Nigeria deserve our highest praise for reporting the most accurate estimates of coverage, not the highest possible number. As a result, the Nigerian government, despite immense administration and security challenges, is better placed to map out gaps in coverage and respond appropriately. Nigeria’s courageous leadership demonstrates how serious commitment to reaching every child with immunizations starts with accurate data. We encourage other countries to follow Nigeria’s lead in taking charge of their own data and using it to improve the protection of their communities.