(Health News) Dr Muhammed Pate, Minister of State for Health, said one million lives would be saved with the recent cost effective intervention by the Federal Government of Nigeria.
Pate, who said this in Abuja on Monday at the first national vaccine summit, noted that the government had allocated the sum of six billion naira for the procurement of routine vaccines.
“Recently we have embarked on an ambitious effort of saving a million lives through the deployment of cost effective interventions.
“With the midwifery and community health worker deployment, scaling up of routine immunisation and introduction of new vaccines, efforts to improve breast feeding and reduce childhood malnutrition as well as scaling up antibiotics for pneumonia.
“Use of zinc for diarrhoea and anti-malarial drugs for malaria will be expected to save lives, that can be quantified and added up to the one million lives.”
He said enhancing child health and survival would boost the quality of the human resources that the country would need for its economic development in the 21st century.
Pate said that in spite of the progress made in the immunisation coverage, there were still challenges that needed to be addressed.
He mentioned some of the challenges to include inequitable access to vaccines, noting that in some rural areas children were not able to get proper vaccination and lack of proper information.
He explained that most parents missed opportunities to protect their children against vaccine preventable disease, even when they wanted to avail their children of such.
The minister said the government had made room for the introduction of pentavalent vaccine, which included Haemophilus Influenza Type B conjugate vaccines and the pneumococcal conjugate vaccine.
“In May 2012, we expect the first set of 12 states to introduce the vaccine and the rest will follow, we do not expect funding to affect the delivery of vaccines.”
In his remarks, Chief Anyim Pius Anyim, Secretary to the Government of the Federation, called on relevant stakeholders to educate Nigerians on the benefit of vaccination, dispel rumours and belief, mobilise the necessary resources as well as monitor it.
Anyim said as the year 2015 drew near, the country remained committed to achieving the Millennium Development Goals.
“It is proven that vaccinating our children is the most cost effective path to achieving goal four, which is aimed at reducing child mortality rate.”
He advised the summit to produce a roadmap towards achieving total vaccine coverage in the country.
“We must also bear in mind the need to look inwards and find sustainable local solution to the country’s problem,’’ he said.
Some 1200 participants are attending the two-day summit from the 36 states of the federation, internatioanl organisations and donor agencies.
Most of the development partners and organisations in vaccine research and development were also in attendance.