Written by Funmilayo Adewumi.
In line with our strategy to engage wives of influential politicians to help increase uptake of immunization in Nigeria, we merged efforts with the National Primary Health Care Development Agency (NPHCDA) to sensitize the Southern Governors’ Wives Forum (SGWF) on the importance and safety of vaccines; and on the perceived views of immunization as being harmful. This took place during the 6th meeting of the SGWF which held in Calabar on Thursday, 26th October, 2017.
Following negative rumours about the forced monkey pox vaccination by the Nigerian Army which originated in Southeastern Nigeria and then eventually spread to other parts of the country causing panic and chaos, NPHCDA swiftly constituted a Crisis Management team from its Advocacy, Communication, and Social Mobilization Working Group (ACSMWG) to strategize and coordinate efforts in addressing the issue. The sensitization of the SGWF was part of NPHCDA’s efforts targeted at reassuring Nigerians ranging from stakeholders engagements, community engagements, media appearances, and social media engagements, of the safety of all vaccines administered under the Nigerian Immunization Schedule.
At the high profile event, Dr Ngozi Nwosu of NPHCDA and Dr Chizoba Wonodi, National Convener, WAVA addressed the Wives of Governors (WoGs) on the need to debunk negative vaccination rumours. They beckoned WoGs to urge their husbands to release State counterpart funding for the 2017/2018 national Measles Vaccination Campaign, and to take up advocacy for increased immunization funding. After the meeting, the SGWF also jointly resolved to ensure that all children get their complete immunization package among other resolutions presented in a communiqué.
Dr Wonodi on behalf of WAVA commends the strong commitment of the SGWF to increase vaccination uptake and also wishes to express gratitude to Her Excellency Nkechi Okorocha, Chairperson SWGF for granting the opportunity to speak at the high profile event.