Abuja — The Minister of Health, Prof. Onyebuchi Chukwu, on Monday said that the ministry had started the printing of new yellow fever cards with encoded security details to replace the old ones.
Chukwu said this when the newly appointed WHO Country Representative to Nigeria, Dr Rui Gamavaz, paid a courtesy visit to the ministry.
In May, about 125 Nigerians were deported by the South African authorities because they were alleged not to have possessed genuine yellow fever card.
He said that Nigeria had established collaboration with the Global Alliance for Vaccine Immunisation (GAVI) to ensure effective control of any unforeseen eventuality that might arise as a result of outbreak from neighbouring countries.
"On the yellow fever aspect, the issue we have with South Africa diplomatically, it has been resolved but for the health aspect.
"What we are doing now, we are printing new yellow cards, which once they are printed, these ones have better security features and they will gradually replace the old yellow card.
" We are walking with GAVI now to some extent they have accepted our proposal for a campaign for yellow fever.
"So, if able by next year with the assistance of GAVI we will source yellow fever vaccines we will begin a special campaign.
"Because we remain at risks, even recently Cameroon had some outbreak and we are neighbours with them and from either ways the disease can cross from either ways but we need to get more people immunised in Nigeria if we are not to have recurrence of 1995 disaster."
Chukwu expressed concern over the ineffectiveness in the use of mosquito treated net to eradicate malaria in Nigeria.
He said that the method did not conform with the country's weather condition, stressing that a lot of people complained that it was generating a lot of heat.
Chukwu said that the indoor residual spraying was an expensive method to embark on, besides, many Nigerians preferred staying outside to receive fresh air.
The minister also appealed to WHO to collaborate with the country in ensuring that polio was totally eradicated.
He said that more laboratories would be established for polio diagnosis.
Chukwu said that Nigeria was also making progress in reducing maternal and new born mortality through the Save One Million Lives initiatives.
He pledged Nigeria's cooperation with the new country representative to achieve success in promoting the health of the citizens.
Responding, the WHO country representative appreciated the Federal Government's efforts in promoting the health of Nigerians.
Gamavaz gave the assurance that WHO would identify the health challenges in Nigeria and work toward addressing the issues.
He pledged to build on the existing relationship of his predecessors, stressing that efforts would be put in place to ensure success in promoting good health of the people. (NAN)