The Nigerian Medical Association, NMA, has raised alarm over the declining immunisation coverage in Nigeria, declaring that the recent report showing 33 percent was unacceptable.
The medical doctors also expressed worry that the poor immunisation coverage may increase childhood deaths due to vaccine preventable diseases such as measles and polio among others.
They therefore called on stakeholders in the health sector to intensify campaign on immunisation of children against the childhood killer diseases.
The National President of the NMA, Dr Mike Ogirima who was represented by the Lagos State chairman of the association, Dr Olumuyiwa Odusote, made the call in Lagos.
At the opening of the 2017 National Physicians’ Week in Lagos with the theme: The theme of 2017 week is entitled: “Declining Immunisation Coverage: Threat to National Security and Development;
The Way Forward” said that everybody, including the three tiers of government, has the responsibility to enlighten the public through aggressive campaigns on the need for regular immunisation of children.
Ogirima called for concerted efforts to increase immunisation across the country. They stated that immunisation would improve the health and wellbeing of children.
“The problem of insurgency, arms attacks and resistance is the major reason why immunisation has declined.
Speaking in his capacity, the Lagos State Chairman, Dr Olumuyiwa Odusote urged the Federal Government to make acquisition of vaccines cheaper and establish a production factory in the country.
“These are things we can revive and then ensure that it is done; if we do that, we are going to have better outcomes.
“So, we need to change our orientation and a lot of advocacy has to be done in that regard.”’
He said that there was also urgent need to prevent outbreak of diseases in the country.
According to him, this is moreso, when there is upsurge of communicable diseases and outbreaks, including Monkey Pox and Lassa fever.
“These are all viral diseases that have to do with immunisation. So, if immunisation is to build up immunity and all these are coming up, it means our immunity is going down, “he said.
A new report by the National Primary Healthcare Development Agency had shown that immunisation coverage in Nigeria was far from 90 percent, 40 percent of children not immunised at all with the bench mark of at least 3 doses of pentavalent vaccine.