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April 21, 2024
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Immunisation: Stakeholders seek concerted efforts for increased trust, uptake

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By Adekunle Williams

 

Stakeholders in Lagos State have called for increased trust and uptake of polio vaccines and routine immunisation in the state.

 

They made the call on Tuesday at an advocacy dialogue organised by the Lagos State Primary Health Care Board in collaboration with United Nations International Children’s Emergency Fund (UNICEF), in Ikeja.

 

Speaking, the Permanent Secretary, Lagos State Primary Health Care Board, Dr Abimbola Bowale, sought the support of all stakeholders in ensuring that children are well immunised.

 

Bowale said, “Our children are our future and the way we take care of them will determine how are society will be like. So, one of the ways to take care of their future is through immunisation. Immunisation is what ensures that our children do not die young.

“Through the support of stakeholders in Lagos State, getting children immunised will be made possible and easier to prevent diseases and death.”

Also, the UNICEF Programme Manager for Lagos state, Mr  Muhammad Okorie, said that immunisation plays a key role in the journey of survival and an important issue that concerns every child.

According to Okorie, immunisation is a key intervention that can be used to realise the right of a child to survival.

He said: “Today, we are gathered here reaffirming our commitment to ensuring that every vaccine preventable disease is eradicated from all communities whether they are hard to reach or near to reach.

“This calls for action, we all have to mobilise as a team to ensure that every child born in Lagos state receives this essential intervention, which is immunisation.

“When you give what the child needs, he grows up to give the nation or society what it needs.

“Lagos State as a centre of excellence should lead in the prioritisation and execution of child immunisation in the country.

“This is the greatest gift to a child which should be given at the right time, even though there are barriers to immunisation, we can overcome it.”

He noted that immunisation in Lagos state is life saving and cost effective as children should not be denied this necessity.

With the aim to move the state forward in immunisation, UNICEF Social and Behaviour Change Specialist, Mrs Aderonke Akinola-Akinwole, said that individuals needed to trust the vaccination process but unfortunately there were many barriers.

“The barriers which include psychological, socio-cultural, economic, religious, and institutional barriers should be gradually curbed by stakeholders in their respective capacity.

“For us, this is an opportunity for us to engage stakeholders to use their roles to influence promotion and uptake for routine immunisation in ensuring that every child is raised with life saving vaccines to make sure that they develop and thrive in life.

“UNICEF is presently working at different wards in Lagos and the whole of Nigeria in ensuring that every child is reached.

“UNICEF has come up with community engagement activities and community-led initiatives in ensuring that parents take on life saving behaviours that will impact the development of the children particularly in respect to primary health care services,” she said.

Dr Chinyere Okafor, the World Health Organisation (WHO) coordinator for Lagos state, who was represented by Alhaja Lawal Sherifat, said that child immunisation is a commitment and priority for WHO.

 

”This meeting cannot come at a better time because we realise that immunisation coverage in Lagos is gradually going down. Lagos has always been in the first or second position in previous years when it comes to immunisation but where are we finding ourselves now.

 

”We see Lagos in 20th position; 16th position, which is not good for us. We are the centre of excellence and we want to remain so, and for us to achieve this , we need the commitment of every stakeholder.

 

”We are still having zero doses in Lagos, and missed opportunities. This pocket of zero doses is a situation waiting for a bomb to explode.

 

”WHO for a long time has been in the forefront for eradicating polio and we know that with your support we can achieve this,” Okafor said.

She urged traditional rulers to work with the healthcare system in the state and enlighten their communities for a safer future.

In his remarks, Alhaji Ahmed Haruna, Seriki of Alimosho, said that he would ensure that the Hausa community and other residents in the area are aware of the benefits of child immunisation.

“One of the challenges we have is that when we reach out to families, women usually tell us that they want to have permission from their husbands before taking any decision and this has affected child immunisation significantly,” he said.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the event was attended by traditional rulers, religious bodies, social mobilisation committees, community development chairmen, LGA supervisors for health, and ward health committee members among others. (NAN)

 

Edited by Folasade Adeniran

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