The Minister of Health, Prof Isaac Adewole, has called on civil servants to be advocates of immunization and monitor the activities of Primary Healthcare Centres (PHC) in their various localities.
The Minister made this call in Abuja while speaking at the sensitization workshop on immunization organized by the National Primary Healthcare Development Agency (NPHCDA), Partners and Head of Civil Service of the Federation for civil servants.
The event is part of the activities to mark 2018 African Vaccine Week with Theme: Vaccines Work; be an Immunization Champion.
Adewole said that despite the fact that Federal Government has been doing its best to ensure that all Nigerian children are immunized security challenges as well as socio- cultural beliefs hinder full administration of immunization, consequently, only one out of four children received full dosage of the package.
The Minister said immunization concept works, and it saves money. “it is one of the cost effective interventions you can never find, when you spend a $1 dollar the direct benefit is $16 dollars”
The Minister said that when children are immunized, it saves mothers from going to hospitals, because they would remain healthy and the mothers would have enough time to work and generate resources to help themselves and the country at large.
He urged the participants to vaccinate their children, adding that vaccines are safe, cheap, and effective.
He said “we must start from within, as mothers and fathers have we immunized our children? you can’t speak to others if you have not immunized your children,”.
Speaking on Primary Healthcare, Centres, the Minister said that Federal Government has embarked on revitalizing all centres across the country. He said the Ministry is not building new PHCs but to rehabilitate the existing ones. The aim is to have at least one functional PHC per ward, the Minister said.
The Minister called on the Civil Servants to team up and adopt PHC in their community and make it functional, He said PHCs don’t belong to government, it belongs but to communities and the communities must own them and make them functional.
The Executive Director, National Primary Healthcare Development Agency, Dr. Faisal Shuaibu said the essence of the workshop was to engage civil servants on the importance of immunization and Primary Health Care Centres in their communities.
He added that campaign on Immunization and Primary Healthcare Centre is beyond Federal Ministry of Health, it requires inter-ministerial and inter sectorial collaboration. He urged all participants to go back to their communities and ensure every child was immunized against vaccine preventable diseases.
In her good will message, the WHO representative Dr. Fiona Braka said that one out of ten children die before their fifth birth day due to poor immunization coverage. She called on all civil servants and other stakeholders to support immunization exercise in Nigeria.