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International Day of Girl Child: CHR, others demand accountability for immunization

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As the world commemorates this year International Day of the Girl Child, Community Health and Research Initiative, CHR, joins Pan African Campaign to demand accountability for immunization from government.

In a release, the Knowledge Management and Communications Coordinator for CHR, Asma’u Ahmad Rufa’i, said Chairman, Board of Trustees of the organization, Dr Aminu Magashi Garba, called on the Minister of Health, Professor Isaac Adewole, to ensure that girls in hard-to-reach areas are not left behind, and that all girls have access to important vaccines they need.

He listed the vaccines to include Tetanus, Rubella and the Human Papilloma Virus (HPV) Vaccine, “which offers protection against 70% of incidences of Cervical Cancer, which claims the lives of an estimated 266,000 women and girls a year.”

This is even as the organization said it was joining other organizations in over ten countries on the continent to launch “33 Days to Power up Immunization Campaign.” The campaign, it said, seeks to hold governments accountable for the multiple promises they had made to support Immunization.

“In 2016, the continent marked significant achievements of interrupting the near elimination of Meningococcal Meningitis A epidemic and the significant reduction in disease burden and child mortality due to Measles.

“According to the Multi Indicator Coverage Survey/National Immunization Coverage Survey (MICS/NICS) report 2016 conducted in Nigeria, only 23% of children (aged 12 – 23 months) are fully vaccinated with another 37% partially vaccinated. Some of the states in Northern Nigeria were reporting below 20% immunization coverage.

“We recognize the efforts that have gone into reaching the current levels by the Nigerian government, however, much more needs to be done if we are to reach the 2020 goals that our government has set in the Global Vaccine Action Plan (GVAP) of reaching 90% immunization coverage nationally and 80% in every state by 2020.

“We call on the Nigerian government to prioritize increase in the national and states budget to finance immunization and ensure timely and efficient releases of immunization funds.

“In January 2017, African Heads of States endorsed the Addis Declaration on Immunization, through which they acknowledged that despite their endorsement of the Global Vaccine Action Plan, they are largely off track. The ADI reinforces their commitment at the highest level of political engagement,” the release said.”

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