Members of the Women Advocates for Vaccines Access (WAVA) made a live media appearance on TalkHealth9ja – a weekly talk show on 99.5 Wazobia FM, Abuja – to discuss the re-emergence of wild polio virus in Nigeria and the value of vaccines. The show which aired on August 19, 2016 featured Adaobi Nwashili and Lara Raji, participants at the recent WAVA training on Immunization Advocacy, who described how vaccination provides immunity to persons against many preventable diseases. They also highlighted the routine immunization schedule in Nigeria and encouraged parents to take their children to health facilities for free vaccination at birth, the 6th week, 10th week, 14th week and the 9th month of life. Lara used the opportunity to dispel some myths about immunization and used her personal experiences to buttress her points. Likewise, Adaobi highlighted potential funding gaps in the routine immunization programme and the need for Federal Government to allocate at least 181 million US dollars (N53 billion at N292 per dollar) in the 2017 budget for the procurement of vaccines that can ensure continuous availability till 2018.
Earlier in the month, WAVA trained 25 advocates from 11 of its member-organizations and empowered them with knowledge and skills to lead advocacy efforts that will ensure every Nigerian has access to live-saving vaccines. The need for a sustained advocacy becomes more crucial given the recent reappearance of two cases of wild polio virus infection in Borno State, after Nigeria celebrated two years without any polio infection on the 24th of July, 2016. Polio is one of the childhood diseases covered by routine immunization in Nigeria.
The hosts of the show, BigMo (Wazobia On-Air Personality) and Donlaz (who is also a DCL Consultant) commended government for making sufficient funds available for immunization program in the 2016 Appropriation Act and called for sustainable funding to ensure no child is left behind.
Adaobi and Lara are from Vaccines Network for Disease Control and TechHerNG respectively; both organizations are members of WAVA.
From left to right: Chuks D General, Keneri, Lara, Adaobi, Dr Laz, Willy Willy, Bigmo and MC Bluetooth