By Yashim Katurak
Abuja – The World Health Organisation (WHO) has reaffirmed its commitment to combat Yellow fever in Nigeria with the support of GAVI, the Vaccine Alliance.
Dr Wondi Alemu, WHO Nigeria Country Representative, disclosed that 12 million doses of Yellow fever vaccines had been donated to Nigeria in 2018, while 19 million was being expected in 2019, through the intervention, to support the fight against the disease.
Alemu said that the assistance would ensure that all persons aged nine months to 45 years were vaccinated in the ongoing reactive yellow fever campaign launched in Danja Local Government Area of Katsina State.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the vaccines are being procured by GAVI.
Alemu said that the campaign, being carried out by the Federal Government with the support of WHO, was in response to a recently identified outbreak of the disease in the state.
The country representative said that the campaign, which commenced on Aug. 9, would end on Aug. 18 in the state, adding that about 154,131 persons were expected to be vaccinated during the exercise.
According to Alemu, WHO’s support to Nigeria aims to complement government’s plan to eliminate the disease by 2026 as guided by the Eliminate Yellow fever Epidemics (EYE) strategy launched by the organisation in April 2018.
He said that since September 2017, Nigeria has been experiencing ongoing outbreak of yellow fever, an acute viral haemorrhagic disease, with confirmed cases reported in 22 local government areas across 11 states.
Alemu said that from the onset of the outbreak, 2,400 suspected cases including 47 deaths have been reported by the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC).
“With one single injection, we can provide life-long immunity against this disease at a cost of approximately one U.S. dollar; however, ensuring availability of adequate vaccine supply to reach all those at risk is a constant challenge.
“With the support of GAVI, WHO earlier pledged to donate 12 million doses of yellow fever vaccines in 2018 and 19 million in 2019 to Nigeria.
“WHO is committed in continuing this effort and supporting Nigeria to better protect its population against this disease and ensure better health and well-being.
“The assistance from WHO, will ensure that all persons aged nine months to 45 years will be vaccinated during the ongoing campaign in Danja Local Government Area of Katsina.
“This will bring the overall number of states where the vaccination drive has been implemented to 10,” the official said.
Dr Dorothy Nwodo, Director, Disease Control and Immunisation, National Primary Health Care Development Agency (NPHCDA), said that supervisors, technical management support teams and partners from the national level were deployed to supervise and ensure quality campaigns.
Nwodo said that preventive mass vaccination campaign was underway for Nov. 8 to 17 in Sokoto, Kebbi, Niger, Plateau and Borno states as well as FCT under Phase 2b of Nigeria’s EYE strategic plan.
She said that Nigeria aims to vaccinate 25 million citizens by the end of 2018, adding that the polio infrastructure in states have continued to provide the required support to other non-polio vaccination campaigns.