TOYIN ADEBAYO, ABUJA
The 2018 National Demographic Health Survey (NDHS) has revealed that only thirty-one percent of Nigerian children are currently immunized.
This implies that, we still need to bridge the 69% gap on unimmunized children.
Speaking at a two day Media Dialogue on Data-Driven Reporting and Dissemination of the National Demographic Health Survey, the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) Planning and Research Specialist, Mrs Maureen Zubie-Okolo, said the decline in figure is as a result of hard-to-reach areas caused by insurgency.
According to her, Immunization coverage is one of the indicators used to monitor progress towards reductions in child morbidity and mortality, as it is one of the most cost-effective public health interventions.
Inspite of the decline, Nigeria has recorded some progress in infant and child mortality across the country, she added.
Speaking on the trends in vaccination, Zubie-Okolo said vaccination coverage in Nigeria has Improved over the past 10 years; the percentage of children age 12-23 months who received all basic vaccinations increased from 23% in 2008 to 31% in 2018.
Again, the percentage of children who received none of the basic vaccinations declined from 29% to 19% during the same period.
She however noted that, while these trends show improvement, they still fall short of Sustainable Development Goals 3, for which the target is achieving more than 90% coverage of all basic vaccinations among children age 12-23 months.
According to her, “The progressive decline in child mortality could be attributed to better health advocacy and good governance.
“Most women due to lack of education, do not readily know what to do to keep their children healthy and alive.
“The National Demographic Health Survey 2018 shows a great improvement in child health indices. ” She further explained.