Nigeria has launched a mass vaccination campaign against measles in the country. The launch which took place in Kano north west of the country today, 30th October 2019 is targeting to reach approximately 22.2 million children from 1 to under 5 years in the 19 northern states of the country and the Federal capital Territory (FCT). Kano state itself, which will commence its campaign tomorrow, Thursday, 31st October 2019 will immunize about 2.5 million children across its 44 LGAs.
This is part of a series of supplemental immunization activities (SIAs) that Nigeria is conducting across the country in its efforts to boost the immunity against measles, yellow fever, meningitis diseases, prevent repeated outbreaks of the diseases and strengthen the routine immunization system. This was made in a joint statement by Dr Faisal Shuaib, the Executive Director of the National Primary health care Development Agency (NPHCDA), the donor – GAVI (Gavi, The Vaccine Alliance) and partners like UNICEF, WHO, CHAI, CDC, AFENET NSTOP.
“The government of Nigeria through the Federal Ministry of Health, NPHCDA and the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control has been responding to outbreaks of diseases. This is why we know that these supplemental immunization activities will help to reduce the burden of measles, yellow fever and meningitis in the country. We encourage every parent and caregiver to please ensure they take advantage of these campaigns to get their eligible children immunized against the diseases,” says Dr Shuaib at the National Steering Committee meeting ahead of today’s launch of the Measles Campaign in Kano.
“We will continue to strive until every child in Nigeria is fully immunized against these diseases,” he added.
The various mass vaccination campaigns will be implemented as follows:
- Measles Vaccination Campaign: for children aged 9 months to 5 years in all northern states including the FCT
- Meningitis sero type A mass vaccination campaign: for children aged 1 – 5/7 years in 25 states
- Yellow Fever preventive campaign: for persons 9 months to 44 years in 5 states (Katsina, Ekiti, Anambra, Borno and Rivers states).
- The Measles and Meningitis vaccination exercise will be integrated (i.e. implemented at the same time) in all northern states except Yobe and Kano states starting from November 2019. Anambra will also integrate Yellow Fever and Meningitis A from the 9th December 2019.
In another development, the country will be introducing the second dose of measles into the routine immunization schedule in all the17 southern states from the 14th to 19th of November 2019 for children 12 – 23 months.
Although immunisation prevents 2-3 million deaths annually (WHO, 2019) and is one of the most cost-effective ways of preventing diseases, about 3 million children under 5 years still die annually from diseases such as measles, yellow fever, and meningitis.
In Nigeria, vaccines are available at health care centres and provided free by the government and partners during routine immunisation and supplemental vaccination activities across the country but vaccination coverages (routine and campaigns) in Nigeria have not reached the desired level to prevent repeated outbreaks. This year, we have recorded outbreaks of Yellow fever in states like Katsina, Ebonyi, Bauchi amongst others as well as Measles in Yobe, Borno and Kaduna.
The Government of Nigeria (National Primary Health Care Development Agency and Nigeria Centre for Disease Control) and partners have been responding to these outbreaks by conducting investigations, providing vaccinations and other preventive measures in states where these outbreaks have occurred.
The National Primary Health Care Development Agency was established in 1992 to provide technical and programmatic supports to states and LGAs and other stakeholders in the functioning, planning, implementation, supervision and monitoring of PHC services in Nigeria. The Agency works with other government bodies (NCDC) and partners (WHO, UNICEF, US CDC etc.) to achieve health for all.