FG sets up emergency centre for routine immunisation
The Federal Government on Monday set up an Emergency Centre that would help coordinate routine immunization programmes for the country.
The centre, National Emergency Routine Immunization Coordination Centre (NERICC) will be managed by a team of health experts selected from the National Primary Health Care Development Agency (NPHCDA), and other non-governmental organizations working on immunization in the country.
The NPHCDA Executive Direction, Dr Faisal Shuaib, said the team is expected to work on 24-hour basis, ensure smooth coordination of, and accountability on immunization programmes across the country.
He decried the poor state of vaccination in some parts of the country and expressed hope that with the centre, there would be better results, while the country would be able to prevent avoidable deaths and other challenges with immunization.
“The inauguration of the NERICC team today is in line with the current strategic vision of NPHCDA to revamp and strengthen primary health care in Nigeria. The NPHCDA through its policies and operating guidelines is mandated to regulate and provide oversight functions in the implementation of routine immunization at national and subnational levels.
“Although our routine immunization is a very vital pillar in our drive to eradicate polio and other vaccine preventable diseases, our expanded programme on immunization efforts have suffered from low uptake resulting in sub-optimal national coverage. These problems are surmountable, and we are gathered here to inaugurate a dedicated squad that would proffer solutions towards addressing the challenges, and accelerate the control of vaccine-preventable diseases.
“Several surveys but particularly the 2016 MICS/NICS report shows a national Penta3/DPT3 coverage of 44.9%. There are some states in the country routine immunization coverage as low as 4%. These indicators for measuring RI performance have shown a steady decline despite huge investments and improvements in supply chain and distribution of vaccines in the last five years.
“We cannot continue to leave our children vulnerable to vaccine preventable diseases. This is why it became pertinent that a coordinating centre is established to function with a sense of emergency.
“It is in line with this sense of emergency that on 17th June 2017, NPHCDA (in collaboration with partners) declared a state of public health concerns on the number of unimmunized children. The aim is to re-launch, rebrand and rapidly revamp routine immunization in the country.”
”The centre is to plan, coordinate and ensure the country’s national target of 85 percent coverage for routine immunization is achieved and unvaccinated kids are reached through innovative strategies within the shortest possible time, he said.
He added: “NERICC shall function as the governing arm for routine immunization programmes, strategies and other recommendations of various expert committees towards achieving routine immunization coverage of at least 85 percent for all antigens at national, states and local government levels.”