The National Primary Health Care Development Agency (NPHCDA) has said that a staggering 800,000 children are being denied routine immunisation due to prevailing insecurity across six northern states.
The Executive Director of NPHCDA, Dr. Faisal Shuaib disclosed this alarming statistic during a strategic meeting in Sokoto, where he engaged with traditional leaders from inaccessible communities in these states.
The affected states—Kaduna, Niger, Zamfara, Kebbi, Katsina, and Sokoto—have experienced limited or no access to essential routine immunisation services due to the disruptive activities of banditry and other security challenges. Dr. Shuaib attributed this concerning trend to the escalating banditry within these regions.
The strategic meeting, termed a turning point in the approach to childhood vaccination against preventable diseases, aimed to address this dire situation.
Dr. Shuaib emphasized the crucial role of traditional leaders in ensuring effective health service delivery to their communities and acknowledged their commitment to enhancing the well-being of their people.
Expressing his concern, Dr. Shuaib highlighted the implications of inaccessibility to vaccination, stating that this predicament could reverse progress in halting the transmission of the circulating variant poliovirus type 2 (cvpv2), which has been spreading in various states across the nation.
The inability to administer vaccinations to these children could render them vulnerable to polio virus infection, putting at risk the strides made so far in eradicating the disease.
The meeting, jointly organized by the Sultan Foundation of Peace and Development and NPHCDA, focused on bolstering primary health care delivery in northern Nigeria.
Dr. Shuaib implored the traditional leaders to leverage their respected and influential positions to advocate for regular immunisation and other essential primary healthcare services.
He stressed the importance of their involvement in promoting the acceptance of vaccines and halting the spread of the cvpv2.
UNICEF’s country representative, Cristian Munduate, who was represented by Maryam Sa’id, the Head of Sokoto Field Office, assured continued support and technical assistance to Nigeria to enhance health service delivery.
The Sultan of Sokoto, Alhaji Muhammad Sa’ad Abubakar, represented by the Emir of Argungu, Alhaji Samaila Mera, pledged the commitment of traditional leaders to devise alternative strategies for reaching these inaccessible areas, underscoring their determination to ensure every child’s health and well-being in the region.
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