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World Immunization Week: SCI calls on gov’t, stakeholders to end childhood vaccine preventable deaths

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As Nigeria join the rest of the world to commemorate World Immunization Week, Save the Children International (SCI) has called on government and stakeholders at all level to ensure they end childhood death resulting from vaccine-preventable diseases.

The International Organization made the call through a statement it sent to CAPITAL POST on Monday.

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SCI pointed out that the COVID-19 pandemic contributed to the disruption of immunization services, leaving millions of children at greater risk of missing out on critical vaccinations against diseases like measles, mumps, whooping cough, pneumonia, and poliomyelitis.

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They also said available data shows that global vaccination rates dropped to levels not seen in a decade, with 3.5 million fewer children receiving vaccines in 2020 compared to 2019.

Describing vaccines as one of the greatest advances in global health and development, the organisation believes that immunization saves millions of lives and it is recognized as one of the world’s most successful health interventions.

They however urged governments to keep immunization high on their sustainable development agendas as vaccinated communities will be healthy, productive and resilient.

Shannon Ward, Interim Country Director, Save the Children International in Nigeria said, “Every child needs to be vaccinated against preventable diseases. These diseases can negatively impact quality of life and cause death. We welcome increased emphasis and training for health workers and community members on the many benefits of immunization.”

Amanuel Mamo, Director of Advocacy, Campaigns, Communication and Media, Save the Children International in Nigeria said, ‘’We urge the Government of Nigeria to support an increase in domestic investment in the health sector to meet with 15% target of the Abuja Declaration (2001) and ensure that health spending improves child health services, including by removing user fees, reducing non-financial barriers to accessing care, and prioritizing primary health services, among others. Focusing on zero-dose children is particularly important because those who are reached with the first vaccine are highly likely to also receive remaining dosages.”

“This week provides us an opportunity to increase public awareness about the importance of every person’s need and rights, including that of children, girls, women and people with disabilities, to be protected from vaccine-preventable diseases. We call for increased coordination, collaboration with and support of stakeholders and the government to be able to deliver high-quality, timely, free and accessible immunization programmes at all level.”

This year’s World Immunisation Week (i.e. 24th- 30th April 2022) with the theme, “Long Life for All” aims to highlight the collective action needed, and to promote the use of vaccines to protect people of all ages against vaccine preventable diseases.

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