Dr Vivian Elumelu, a Trustee of Elumelu Foundation, on Thursday restated the foundation’s commitment to partner with the National Health Care Development Agency (NHCDA), to improve access to vaccine coverage and reduce infant mortality indices in Nigeria.
Elumelu, who is also GAVI Champion for immunization in Africa, said this at a news conference in commemoration of the 2019 Africa Vaccination Week on Thursday in Abuja.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the 2019 Africa Vaccination Week is celebrated annually between April 22 and 28.
“As a GAVI ambassador, I am advocating for vaccine for all and recognise that all this cannot be done without collaboration with key stakeholders, hence partnership with NPHCDA.
“In our organisation, we have the concept of Africa capitalism, through the concept, we believe that for social and economic development of the continent we need private and public sector to come together.
“This philosophy was the reason for my acceptance to be on GAVI board,’’ she said.
Elumelu noted that in spite of the achievements of GAVI in reaching millions of children with vaccines through collaboration with public sector, more needed to be done to reduce the gap of unimmunised children in Nigeria.
She called on the government to create enabling environment to improve vaccination and address security issues, so that health workers could render services without fear of losing their lives.
The GAVI ambassador also urged the Federal Government to provide more infrastructure to enhance health outcomes in the country.
Elumelu disclosed that the foundation in collaboration with Lagos State government would organise immunization outreach, to sensitise women in hard to reach communities on the importance of routine immunization.
The Executive Director of NPHCDA, Dr Faisal Shuaib, said the agency would conduct mass vaccination of children in all parts of the country, as part of the activities to commemorate the week.
He said the week was set aside to strengthen immunization services, to draw the attention of key stakeholders to the unlimited opportunities vaccines offer humanity in saving lives especially the vulnerable children.
Shuaib, therefore, appealed to all parents, guardians and caregivers, to make their wards available for the immunization exercise.
He added that immunization remained the cheapest and yet the most effective lifesaving health intervention for all children in human history.
Shuaib said that there had been no report of vaccine shortage anywhere in Nigeria in the past few years, adding that the vaccines were provided free for all children in the country.
In his remarks, Dr Clement Peters, Officer in Charge of World Health Organisation Nigeria, said the agency would work with the government to ensure that vaccine coverage was increased.
This, he said would ensure that no child is lost due to vaccine preventable ailments. (NAN)