News from the field: NPHCDA inaugurates 2018 African Vaccination Week committee

written by Funmilayo Adewumi

Dr. Faisal Shuaib, Executive Director, National Primary Health Care Development Agency inaugurated the 2018 African Vaccination Committee ahead of 2018 AVW. This inauguration took place at the NPHCDA headquarters, Abuja on 22nd January, 2018.

Welcoming nominees of the committee to the inauguration, Dr. Dorothy Nwodo, Director Disease Control & Immunization, NPHCDA requested the ED to the inaugurate the committee in view of the unacceptably low immunization coverage rates, low awareness on value of vaccines and immunization, and negative perceptions to immunization as being harmful.

Dr Fiona Braka, World Health Organization (WHO) Nigeria Team Lead for Expanded Programme on Immunization highlighted that the AVW was endorsed by WHO in September 2010 to strengthen immunization programmes in the African Region and is being celebrated in the last week of April. The annual implementation of the World Immunization Week serves as the overreaching framework for all the regional initiatives dedicated to promoting the importance of vaccination across the life course. The World Immunization Week also aims to assure the universal access of individual of all ages and in all countries to this essential preventive health service. Since the 1st edition of the AVW celebrated in 2011, countries in the region have used the AVW platform to conduct a wide range of activities to include advocacy, communications, vaccinations, and other high impact health interventions. The slogan for the AVW is “Vaccinated communities; Healthy communities”.  In consultation with countries and immunization partners, the theme selected for the 2018 edition is “Vaccines work; Do your part! She therefore called the government of Nigeria, through NPHCDA, to use the week to intensify efforts towards improving immunization coverage.

Dr. Faisal confirmed the nominees of the committee, tasking them with the following terms of reference:

  • Develop plan of action and budget for activities during the week
  • Use AVW to mobilize funds for immunization through advocacy
  • Increase awareness on the importance of vaccination
  • Improve immunization through outreaches
  • Celebrate important progress to date, especially as immunization currently averts an estimated 2-3 million deaths annually
  • Maintain and capitalize on current political momentum in support of universal immunization coverage
  • Support and encourage States to mark AVW
  • Update NPHCDA, partners, and States on AVW.

While appreciating members of the team for their significant role within immunization and the health sector in general, he asked that they not relent in their efforts, but see this inauguration as another opportunity to improve immunization coverage and secure the health of the Nigerian child.

Representatives of organizations inaugurated at the event were:

  • Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation (BMGF)
  • Clinton Health Access Initiative (CHAI)
  • Community Health Research Initiative (CHR)
  • Direct Consulting and Logistics (DCL)
  • Federal Ministry of Health (FMoH)
  • International Vaccine Access Center (IVAC)
  • National Primary Health Care Development Agency (NPHCDA)
  • Private Health Sector Alliance of Nigeria (PHSAN)
  • Polio Emergency Operation Center
  • United Nations International Children Emergency Fund (UNICEF)
  • US-Centre for Disease Control and Prevention (US-CDC)
  • Vaccine Network for Disease Control (VNDC)
  • Women Advocates for Vaccine Access (WAVA)
  • World Health Organization (WHO)

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