Olufemi Atoyebi, Ibadan
The World Health Organisation and the United Nations Children Emergency Fund have identified religious beliefs, culture and ignorance as factors responsible for the low immunisation coverage rate in Nigeria.
The international health agencies and other stakeholders spoke at a sensitisation meeting to celebrate the 2017 African Vaccination Week in Ibadan, the Oyo State capital.
The UNICEF Vaccine Security and Logistics Consultant in the state, Dr. Modupe Olalotiti-Lawal, who highlighted the importance of completing immunisation, stated that ignorance, poor financing, vaccine shortage and religion accounted for 88 per cent of the reasons why women did not vaccinate their children against killer diseases.
She said, “The public and community need the right information to make the right decision on immunisation issues. When the right information is given to the right people at the right time in the right place under the right conditions, they influence their decisions.
“Ignorance, religion, culture and rumour are some of the reasons for the failure of nursing mothers and pregnant women to complete their immunisation schedule and we must do more to reduce the level by creating more awareness. Emphasis on benefits of vaccine and immunisation services will allay the public community of their fears and doubts.”
The WHO Coordinator in the state, Dr. Ada Erinne, said vaccines were effective only when administered as scheduled against specific diseases that they were developed for.
She said, “Poliomyelitis, measles, tetanus, whooping cough, diphtheria, tuberculosis, yellow fever, hepatitis B, pneumonia and mumps are diseases preventable through immunisation. We have to improve awareness on the importance of routine immunisation in our communities,” she said.
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