• Wednesday, May 22, 2024
businessday logo

BusinessDay

UNICEF urges governments, donor agencies to prioritise investment in immunization

UNICEF says lack of teachers, classrooms affect children’s education

The United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) Enugu Field Office has appealed to the state governments and donor agencies within the UNICEF Enugu Field Office to prioritise investment in immunization to ensure it reaches every child, no matter who they are and where they live.

The UNICEF Enugu Chief of Field Office, Juliet Chiluwe in company of the UNICEF Enugu health specialist, Olusoji Akinleye at a press briefing to mark the World Immunization Week 2024 and celebrate the achievement of the past 50 years of immunization efforts through “Humanly Possible Campaign” made the appeal in Enugu.

She said: “UNICEF marks the immunization to raise awareness of the importance of immunization among parents and caregivers, healthcare professionals, policy and decision-makers and the media.

Read also: Henshaw, UNICEF ambassador laud children immunisation in Bauchi

Chiluwe said that the vaccination campaign for 2024 focuses on child vaccination and celebration of 50 years of immunization and investing in a future where vaccinating every child is “Humanly Possible.”

The “humanly possible” brand and campaign, she said was a celebration of all that immunization has done. “It also symbolizes a renewed determination to keep up the incredible work. Building on past successes, the campaign looks optimistically to the future. It is a sector-wide campaign for action on immunization in 2024. Humanly Possible calls on the world leaders to keep up the vital funding of vaccines to ensure that no child, anywhere dies from diseases that we can know how to prevent,” she said.

She highly commended the five governors of the South East, Bayelsa, Benue and Kogi, the eight states under the UNICEF Enugu Field Office, for their support and contributions but still called on them to commit politically, programmatically and financially to raise their vaccination rates up to pre-pandemic level and to reach zero-dose children who have missed out entirely on their routine vaccinations.

She however stated that about 2.2 million Nigerian children are with zero doze and that Nigeria is one of the few countries globally that need to catch up with their immunization rate by prioritising vaccine investment.

“We call on priority donor countries (high income) to commit to GAVI6.0, we call on governments in low and zero doze countries (low and middle income) to commit politically and financially to catch their vaccination rates up to pre-pandemic level, and develop plans for the introduction and/or scale-up of key vaccines.

“We are already seeing the predictable consequences: outbreak of once controlled diseases like measles and polio, and children are dying as a result. If this trend is allowed to continue, the damage will be counted in lives, quality of life, and the loss of profound achievement. But in 2024 we a chance to help decision-makers and the public fall back in love with vaccines,” she said.