A pharmaceutical company, GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) and the Women Advocates for Vaccine Access (WAVA), have urged parents to make their children available for immunisation to help prevent deadly diseases in the country.
WAVA is a coalition of reputable women groups working together to advocate for better access to vaccines and raise a voice for sustainable immunisation financing in Nigeria.
The organisations jointly made the call in a statement signed by Dr Chizoba Wonodi, WAVA National Convener in Abuja on Thursday.
Wonodi said that the major challenges for immunisation in the country were compliance and finances.
‘‘The problem is that as we get successful with immunisation programmes, it becomes harder to convince people that immunisation is important because we are all well and walking around.
‘‘It is only when we have an outbreak like meningitis that we remember the importance of immunisation,” she said.
Wonodi explained that Nigeria’s under-five mortality rate had dropped by 41 per cent from 189 to 109 per 1,000 lives birth between 2000 and 2015.
She said that vaccines contributed greatly to the progress recorded, especially measles vaccine, which helped decreased death by 93 per cent in the same period.
The official, however, said that WAVA in partnership with GlaxoSmithKline Plc and other development partners had been championing the advocacy for vaccine immunisation for children.
She recalled that the organisations successfully organised some advocacy programmes at the just concluded African Immunisation week in Abuja.
Wonodi said one of the programmes was an award ceremony for creative art and writing competition for secondary schools.
She, however, expressed appreciation to GSK, World Health Organisation (WHO) and other development partners who had contributed to the progress of the course so far.
Prof. Adebola Richard, a representative of GSK said that the only shelter way for the society in time of epidemic outbreak was immunisation.
He emphasised the need to eradicate diseases and applauded the Federal Government and agencies involved in the process of making vaccines available for administration on children.
He, however, pledged the company’s continuous support and assistance to enable good life for children in the country.