The National Primary Health Care Development Agency (NPHCDA) has revealed that more than 800,000 children are unable to access routine immunization services in six northern states of Nigeria.

These states include Kaduna, Niger, Zamfara, Kebbi, Katsina, and Sokoto.

Dr. Faisal Shuaib, the Executive Director of NPHCDA, disclosed this during a strategic meeting with traditional leaders from the inaccessible communities in the aforementioned states. The meeting, centered on primary healthcare (PHC) delivery, took place in Sokoto and was organized by the Sultan Foundation for Peace and Development in partnership with NPHCDA.

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Dr. Shuaib expressed that banditry and other forms of insecurity in these areas have hindered access to routine immunization, rendering them unreached or inaccessible.

He stated, “Inaccessibility poses a significant threat to our endeavors to halt the transmission of circulating variant polio virus type 2 (cVPV2), currently spreading in some states of the country. As esteemed leaders of our nation, I humbly urge your majesties to consistently advocate for immunization and other primary healthcare services, leveraging your influential and respected positions to stress the importance of regular immunization and other PHC services to parents and caregivers.”

By doing so, he emphasized, the spread of cVPV2 can be halted, leading to an overall improvement in the health and well-being of communities.

Dr. Shuaib highlighted the effectiveness of the HPV vaccine in preventing common types of Human Papilloma Virus responsible for cervical and other forms of cancer. He sought the traditional leaders’ assistance in conveying the significance of these vaccines to their communities.

The meeting served as an opportunity to discuss and strategize solutions for the challenges facing the PHC system in the region. It aimed to identify gaps in service delivery and explore innovative approaches to enhance PHC services through collaborative efforts.

UNICEF’s country representative, Cristian Munduate, represented by Maryam Sa’id, the head of the Sokoto field office, affirmed UNICEF’s provision of millions of vaccine doses for the country. UNICEF committed to offering ongoing technical support to Nigeria for effective health service delivery.

The Sultan of Sokoto, Alhaji Sa’ad Abubakar, represented by the Emir of Argungu, Alhaji Samaila Mera, pledged to find alternative methods of reaching inaccessible areas. He acknowledged that some of the affected people reside in Internally Displaced Persons (IDP) camps in Niger Republic and other parts of Nigeria. The traditional leaders expressed their commitment to communicating with these communities to encourage them to bring their children for vaccination.


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