The National Primary Health Care Development Agency (NPHCDA) says it has scaled up its prevention campaign against Yellow fever since 2014, using a phased approach.
The Executive Director of the agency, Dr Faisal Shuaib, said this in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Thursday in Abuja.
Shuaib said that the agency with the support of Gavi Vaccine Alliance, has implemented several preventive and reactive vaccination campaigns across many states in the country to stem the outbreaks of Yellow fever.
He said that NPHCDA was currently implementing the Eliminating Yellow Fever Epidemics (EYE) strategy which was launched globally, Nigeria inclusive, by the Director General of the World Health Organisation (WHO), Dr Tedros Ghebreyesus in 2017.
“The EYE strategy has vaccination as one of its pillars against the disease, using a potent, safe and available vaccine that provides lifelong immunity,” he said.
Shuaib explained that Yellow fever was classified as a viral haemorrhagic fever caused by infection with the Yellow fever virus transmitted by the Aedes Egypti mosquito.
“There is no human to human transmission.
“Transmission risk has increased in Nigeria due to rapid urbanisation disrupting habitats where these mosquitos reside.
“Introduction of these mosquitos into urban population has accounted for Yellow fever outbreaks in recent times such as that experienced in Edo state in 2018.
“Due to these events, Nigeria has been implementing yellow fever preventive mass vaccination campaigns while also responding to outbreaks around the country using the Yellow fever vaccines.
“The preventive campaigns have been in phases using a risk assessment tool starting with states that have the highest risk for outbreak,” he explained.
He disclosed that Rivers state would begin implementation of Yellow fever preventive mass vaccination campaign across all its LGAs from Feb. 28, and would target persons aged nine months to 44 years.
Shuaib added that the vaccines would be available at health centres, places of worship, schools and would be given by licensed health workers.
He acknowledged the efforts of the Rivers State Government to improve primary health care access and immunisation service delivery.
The NPHCDA boss also stated that vaccines remain the cheapest way to prevent diseases and reduce the burden associated with treatment and death from vaccine preventable diseases especially in women and children.
Meanwhile, Dr A.J. Oteri, the Director, Disease Control and Immunisation at the NPHCDA, also told NAN that Yellow fever vaccine provides lifelong immunity.
He advised Nigerians to keep their immunisation cards safe as it can also be used to obtain the Yellow card for international travels.
Oteri said that the mass campaign in Rivers state was part of the planned preventive campaigns for the year 2020.
“Anambra State Campaign will be coming up in April and another set of states will follow before the year runs out.
“So far, campaigns (preventive and reactive) have taken place across 21 states and all states will be covered in the strategic plan to ensure Nigeria eliminates Yellow fever,” he said.
He announced that the Yellow fever vaccine was also available as part of the routine immunisation schedule for children at nine months of age and was taken together with Measles and Meningitis A vaccines.
According to him, vaccines are available at no cost at government healthcare centres by the government and partners for routine immunisation and supplemental vaccination activities across the country.
He noted that the agency and the donor (Gavi) through partners would continue to work to ensure that no person dies from vaccine preventable diseases by working to meet 100 per cent coverage for all vaccines. (NAN)