2017 African Vaccination Week: Let’s vaccinate and make vaccines work for all Nigerians

The Women Advocates for Vaccine Access (WAVA) and the Vaccine Champions have called on the Nigerian public and government to support vaccination programmes, to make vaccines work for everyone.

The call urges everyone, even school children, to become vaccine advocates and to contribute their quota towards increased demand and sustainable vaccine financing in Nigeria. The coalition of 47 civil society organizations (CSOs) in 19 States of Nigeria made this call during the award ceremony for the secondary school vaccine art and writing competition organised by WAVA in partnership with the National Primary Health Care Development Agency, Save the Children, the World Health Organization and GlaxoSmithKline.

The event which was held during the WAVA Vaccine Champions’ quarterly meeting, had in attendance, the Wife of the Senate President and the Founder of the Wellbeing Foundation Africa, HE Toyin Ojora-Saraki, Deputy Chairman of the House of Representative Committee of HealthCare Services, Wife of Bauchi State Governor, and Head of Station of Cool/Wazobia/Info Abuja was part of the 2017 African Vaccination Week (AVW) activities.

The AVW is an annual event in the last week of April that provides an opportunity for countries and partners to strengthen their national immunization programmes through advocacy, communication and health education, greater service delivery and other activities. The theme of the 2017 AVW is: “Vaccines protect everyone, get vaccinated”.

Speaking to the press, the National Convener of WAVA, Dr. Chizoba Wonodi said, “In line with the Nigeria-specific theme for 2017 African Vaccine Week (which is Youth Advocates for Immunization), we have organized this creative art and writing competition for secondary school students to raise young people’s critical awareness of the value of vaccines and of the threats to immunization financing. The youth should be part of the solution. They have a lot of energy, a vast network and fresh ideas. Young people can breathe new life to vaccine advocacy by creating and sharing advocacy messages that speaks their generation.

The Wife of Nigerian Senate President and Founder-President of Wellbeing Foundation Africa (WBFA) who spoke on behalf of other WAVA Vaccine Champions said, “Vaccines protect us from many deadly diseases. A good example is the role of the Meningitis vaccine in the reactive vaccination program of government to control the meningitis outbreak that has unfortunately affected more than 8000 Nigerians in 23 States and killed over 700 persons. Let us all take advantage of routine and supplementary immunization activities, and the ongoing reactive vaccination to receive appropriate vaccines. The public and government, at all level, should contribute their quota towards increased demand for immunization and sustained funding of the immunization program, especially now that Nigeria has begun the gradual transition out of Gavi support. As a champion of vaccines and also maternal and newborn care, I must emphasize the vital need for mothers and healthcare workers primarily midwives, to track, record and give immunizations to mothers and their newborns, this is the solution for vaccinations working for everyone from birth to age.”

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