Today, children in Nigeria routinely get vaccines that protect them from more than a dozen diseases such as Bacillus Calmette-Guerin (BCG), polio, measles, tetanus, diphtheria and pertussis (whooping cough), Hepatitis B., yellow fever, rotavirus etc. Vaccines work best when they are given at certain ages. In Nigeria, children receive measles vaccine at the age of 9 months.
Every day, 200,000 Nigerian children die for failing to participate in vaccine preventable diseases. Vaccines are free in Nigeria. Immunization saves three million people every year from deaths and disabilities. Nigeria has the poorest under vaccinated children in Africa. Every five years Nigerian Population Commission conducts survey among children ages 12 to 23 months to determine vaccination coverage. In 2013, only 25 percent of Nigerian children ages 12 to 23 months were fully vaccinated. The next immunization survey will be in 2018. Our goal is to have Nigerian children to be 50% fully vaccinated.
Why is immunization coverage in Nigeria among the lowest in the world?
The reasons are complicated to understand.
• The location of the health center is a serious problem for the parents to bring their children to the center for vaccination. Some have to travel one mile with two or three children.
• Many parents could not afford transportation cost to the center.
• Only the mothers are responsible for ensuring their children are vaccinated. Husbands do not support.
• Vaccination day is not adequate for the parents to bring their children to the center. The situation is worse in rural areas.
• Nurses at the health center have difficulty getting vaccines from local government headquarters to the center.
• Nurses spend their meager income to ride Okada to give shots to the children in their homes.
Community Health Awareness and General Support of Oklahoma Incorporated is designed to raise awareness about low immunization coverage in Nigeria plus provide tangible aids to parents who bring their children to health centers for vaccination.
• The Community Health Awareness will contact Nigerian Diaspora Town Union presidents and Nigerian Women Associations to deliberate on actions to take to address low vaccination coverage in your area.
• If you are a physician, pharmacist, physician assistant, nurse practitioner, nurse, and administrator Community Health Awareness will contact you and determine various ways to improve vaccination coverage in your hometowns.
Today’s children will become tomorrow’s civilization. Children cannot handle the environment and they do not have the resources.
Please do not hesitate to call 405-413-3987 or write to Community Health.
Dr. Oliver Anyabolu (Ph.D.)
President, Community Health Awareness and General Support Of Oklahoma Inc.