Minister of Health, Prof. Onyebuchi Chukwu, yesterday disclosed that the Federal government planned to introduce new yellow fever cards that would have security features with the holder's data soon.
He said the proposed cards would gradually replace the current cards. According to him, the aim was to guarantee the authenticity of yellow cards carried by Nigerians as evidence of yellow fever immunisation,
This came against the backdrop of the row between South Africa and Nigeria earlier this year after some Nigerians were deported from South Africa on the claims that their yellow cards were not genuine.
Chukwu spoke in Abuja yesterday evening when he received the new World Health Organisation (WHO) Representative in Nigeria, Dr. Rvi Gama Vaz.
"The issue we had with South Africa technically has been resolved," he said. "But for the health aspect, what we are doing now, we are printing new yellow cards that will contain security features to gradually replace the current yellow cards."
He stated that Nigeria needed to have more people immunised to avoid a recurrence of 1995 disaster.
The minister appealed to the WHO to help in the eradication of malaria in Nigeria through environmental control.
He noted that indoor residual spraying had proven to be more effective than the use of mosquito nets.
Noting that polio was one of the country's challenges, Chukwu said: "This year, for so many reasons, we are not happy. But we have strengthened the system. We should begin to see rapid drop. I don't see the reasons why Nigeria should be taking samples to Senegal. We need to establish at least seven more labs in the country."
The new WHO Representative in Nigeria, Dr. Rvi Gama Vaz, had said WHO's presence in Nigeria was to assist in identifying its health challenges with a view to improving the chances of attaining the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).