It was a night to remember as WAVA held its quarterly meeting with vaccine champions on April 25, 2016 at the Nicon Luxury Hotels, Abuja to mark activities for African Vaccination Week (AVW). The event also paid tribute to the winners of the second phase/social media challenge of the secondary school arts and writing competition. Organized in partnership with Direct Consulting and Logistics (DCL), International Vaccine Access Center (IVAC), National Primary Healthcare Development Agency (NPHCDA), World Health Organization (WHO), Save the Children Nigeria, and GlaxoSmithKline (GSK), the event was resplendent with top dignitaries in the immunization sector, proponents of maternal and child health, parents and teachers of the students, as well as distinguished members of the press.
WAVA Convener, Dr. Chizoba Wonodi began proceedings as she presented an update on the immunization advocacy landscape to the vaccine champions. In attendance were Her Excellency, wife of the Senate President of Nigeria, Mrs. Toyin Saraki; Deputy Chair, Health Committee on Health Services at the House of Representatives, Hon. Muhammed Usman Muhammed; Her Excellency, wife of the Bauchi State governor, Hajiya Hadiza Muhammed Abubakar; and Her Excellency, wife of the Kebbi State governor, Dr. Zainab Shinkafi-Bagudu represented by Dr. David Uzochukwu. The roundtable discussion was lively as the champions listened with rapt attention and identified WAVA member organizations within their states that they could work with. The WAVA vaccine champion workplan was also reviewed and updated to reflect new trends in the country.
Finishing from the meeting, the awards ceremony kicked off with great style as goodwill messages were received from partners, stakeholders and vaccine champions on the beauty and innovative approach in engaging youths for immunization advocacy. The 12 winning paintings from the first phase of the competition were on display as the winners from the social media challenge were announced. The awards were presented to Ms. Splendour Joe King who garnered 2519 votes, Ms. Chidinma Osuagwu with 2157 votes, and Ms. Omoegbele Joy Obehi with 2083 votes. Ms. Joe King put up an excellent showing as she wowed listeners during her brilliant acceptance speech to the admiration of everyone at the event. All three winners each received a laptop with a backpack courtesy of Save the Children and WAVA.
Honourable mentions at the event include Dr Eugene Ivase, Acting Director of Advocacy and Communication, NPHCDA; Mohammed Abubakar, Deputy Director at NPHCDA; Hajiya Hammanyero Kulchumi, Communication Officer at WHO; Aregaiw Tedella, Immunization Officer at WHO; Prof. Richard Adegbola, Director at GSK; Dr. Shailesh Mehta, Director at GSK; Dr. Oladehin Olakunle, Director at GSK; George Akor, Policy and Advocacy Advisor at Save the Children; Dr. Whera Sagay, President, Medical Womens’ Association of Nigeria (MWAN); and WAVA members – CHEDI, VNDC, AfrYPoD and IYL. The press was ably represented by the Nigeria Television Authority (NTA), News Agency Nigeria (NAN), Ogun State Television (OGTV), Peoples TV, Federal Radio Corporation of Nigeria (FRCN), Vision FM, Punch, Vanguard, Leadership, ThisDay and Business Day.
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