The National immunization coverage survey (NICS), carried out by the National Bureau of Statistics(NBS), as part of the global MICS program shows that the infant mortality rate is 63 deaths per 1,000 births for the five, year period before the survey.
The Survey equally reveals that under five mortality rate for same period was pegged at 102 death per 1,000 live birth.
This indeed calls for urgent measure to create more awareness and reduce child mortality rate.
Speaking at a sensitization meeting in Abuja, to mark this year’s immunization week, the Director General of West African Institute of Public Health, Francis Ohanyido, called on Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) in the health sector and the media to step up advocacies on various health related issues in the country.
He emphasized that stakeholders needed routinely update from the ministry either on monthly or quarterly basis to ensure effective management infant mortality.
“We need to step up advocacies in areas of immunization and why it is necessary. Because many people are relying on us for information,” he said
Director of Advocacy, Campaigns, Communication and Media, Save the Children International (SCI) Nigeria, Amanuel Mamo, suggested creating enabling environment and strengthening the three gateways to deliver Basic Healthcare Provision.
There must be funding opportunity for the Basic Minimum Package of Health Services (BMPHS) which includes immunisations integrated with other services and implemented at primary healthcare facilities across Nigeria, using data to drive decision-making while ensuring the implementation of the zero-dose operational plan (Z-DOP)”. he stated.
Mamo explained that Save The Children report shows that the under-five mortality rate of children born in the poorest households at (133 per 1000) was nearly three times the under-five mortality rate for children born in the richest households (47 per 1000).
“Only 36% of children aged 12 to 23 months received all recommended vaccines while 18 percent did not receive any, putting a substantial number of children at risk of vaccine-preventable diseases”.
The organization urged Federal and State governments to keep immunization high on their sustainable development agenda for vaccinated communities to be healthy, productive and resilient.
Speaking on the role of the media in improving immunisation coverage in Nigeria, the Line editor of Blue Print Newspaper Adeola Akinbobola, said rural dwellers most times misunderstood vaccines and immunisation, finding it difficult to accept.
She said to change these attitudes, strategic media campaigns targeted at creating understanding and acceptance is required, to counter these problem.
Reporting by Julian Osamoto; Editing by Adeniyi Bakare