Tuesday, April 30,
2019 / 09:50AM /Avon Medical
Though Nigeria accounts for less than 2% of the world’s population, nearly 10% of all new born deaths occur in the country, revealed Gavi Private Sector Champion for Immunisation in Africa, Dr. Awele Elumelu, during her keynote address at the official flag off of African Vaccination Week in Abuja, hosted by the National Primary Health Care Development Agency (NPHCDA). Nigeria has the highest number of unimmunized children in the world, estimated at 4.3 million children in 2018.
“We cannot continue to lose 2,600 children under age 5 every day in Nigeria, especially when their deaths are easily preventable by vaccination. 1 in every 8 Nigerian children will die before their fifth birthday. Nearly 10% of all new born deaths in the world occur in Nigeria. Why? Our infant mortality rate is 75 out of 1000 (75/1000); a staggering 8% of the global total. Every day, Nigeria loses 127 women of child bearing age. We cannot afford to normalize these deaths,” she said.
Highlighting the fact that Nigeria’s trend in maternal mortality rate has not improved in the last 3 decades (1990 to 2015), she said: “As my friend, Dr. Shuaib, Executive Director of NPHCDA, often laments, a plane full of women crashes every day in Nigeria. We lose hundreds of young mothers and we must do something fast. We cannot continue like this.” Even as she acknowledged and gave commendation to government for improved vaccine availability in LGAs from ~30% in 2014 to 80% today, she appealed to the government to do more across board.