Abuja — Only about 23 per cent of children in Nigeria have received all recommended vaccines between 2016 and 2017, the Multi Indicator Cluster Survey report, (MICS) has revealed.
The report also stated that though only one in four children received all recommended vaccines, more children are fully immunised in South-south, South-west and South-east zones.
The survey which was sponsored by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, was released yesterday in Abuja, during the MICS/NICS national dissemination meeting with stakeholders on revamping routine immunisation and primary healthcare system.
The MICS is a survey designed to provide estimates of vaccines coverage for the country by zones and each of the 36 states.
In his presentation, the Acting Director Planning Research and statistics, Dr Abdullahi Garba, noted that the percentage of immunised children between 12 and 23 months of age is very low and below expectation.
He said: "Immunisation coverage varies across Nigeria but improvements are needed in every state.
"The immunisation coverage in Nigeria is below the Global Vaccine Action Plan (GVAP) goals, putting a substantial number of children at risk of vaccine preventable diseases," he said.
He said more work could be done to ensure that at least 90 per cent of children in Nigeria receive all recommended vaccines, stating that the Nigerian government is committed to the 100 per cent goals of the GVAP.
In his response to questions, the Nigeria Country officer, Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, Yusuf Yusufari called on the federal government to take over the responsibility of immunisation in the country.
He said: "Nigeria government has to take over ownership of immunisation in the country.
"The government, health workers and partners must be held accountable for routine immunisation.
"By accountability, I mean the Nigeria government has procured 100 per cent of vaccines required to vaccinate our children but the result is telling us only a few have been vaccinated, what is happening to other vaccines?
"This means that there is a lot of inefficiency in the system or a lot of inaccurate reporting, so we all need to be accountable," he said.
In his remarks, the representative of European Union, Dr Ibrahim Lisa, commended the effort of the National Primary Health Care Development Agency (NPHCDA) to conduct the national dissemination meeting to enlighten everyone on where we stand with routine immunisation.
He added that the results would serve as evidence that more resources and efforts are needed to put immunisation on a high spot in Nigeria.
He also pledged the continuous effort of the European Union to ensure that every child in Nigeria receives vaccines against preventable diseases.