Measles: Nigeria has highest unimmunised kids globally – UNICEF

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Th e incidence of measles among children under the age of fi ve increased more than two-fold in the northern part of Nigeria between 2014 and 2016, a survey has revealed. Th is was revealed by UNICEF which said the country had the highest number of children in the world not immunised with the fi rst dose of measles vaccine.

Executive Director of the National Primary Health Care Development Agency, Faisal Shuaib, said a surveillance data showed that measles incidence among children under fi ve years increased in the northern part of Nigeria from 190 million in 2014 to 527 million in 2016. He disclosed this yesterday in Abuja at a one-day media orientation forum for the 2017/17 Measles Vaccination Campaign. Speaking at the event, a UNICEF offi cial, Margaret Adaba, said Nigeria had over 3.3 million of such children, followed by India with 2.9 million.

She said “Nigeria needs to work on creating more awareness on measles vaccination.” Shuaib acknowledged the country’s challenge with measles and said the federal government plans to mitigate this through a nationwide measles vaccination campaign. He noted that Nigeria still accounts signifi cantly for the global measles burden, despite the successes achieved in the reduction of measles-related morbidity and mortality. Shuaib said the Measles Vaccination Campaign aims to reach 33 million eligible children in Nigeria. He said that though the agency was able to reach 85 per cent of children in 2015, this year’s campaign must cover at least 95 per cent of children eligible for the vaccine. Noting that the federal government has released about N3.5 billion in support of the campaign, Shuaib urged state governments to release their counterpart funds. Th e nationwide Measles Vaccination Campaign “will commence in the last quarter of 2017 and will focus on children between the ages of nine and 59 months.”

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