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Why Nigerian Children Are Vulnerable To Killer Diseases

Poor vaccination coverage is one of the strongest reasons for child mortality in Nigeria, statistics gathered by the National Bureau of Statistics(NBS) have suggested.

The 2018 Multiple Indicator Cluster Survey of the NBS indicates that childhood Vaccination coverage, known to be one of the most important means of preventing childhood morbidity and mortality is on the low in Nigeria.

According to the National Programme on Immunization, routine immunization of children in Nigeria usually consists of the following vaccines;

• BCG (Bacilli Calmette Guerin)—at birth or as soon as possible after birth

• OPV (Oral Polio Vaccine)—at birth and at 6, 10, and 14 weeks of age

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• DPT (Diphtheria, pertusis, tetanus)—at 6, 10, and 14 weeks of age

• Hepatitis B—at birth, 6 and 14 weeks

• Measles—at 9 months of age

• Yellow Fever—at 9 months of age

• Vitamin A—at 9 months and 15 months of age

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The Nigerian Federal Ministry of Health recommends that a child can be said to be fully vaccinated if he or she has received all the aforementioned vaccines during the first year of life.

But the NBS survey on the coverage of childhood vaccination showed that   in 2018, only eighteen percent of Nigerian children age 12-23 months received all recommended vaccination by their first birthday in the survey.

Mohamed Malick Fall, the UNICEF representative in Nigeria, also disclosed last year that 4 .3 million children do not benefit from vaccinations every year.

Data from the NBS further shows that between 2017-2018, BCG coverage in Nigeria stood at 35 percent while coverage for polio, pentavalent, measles and yellow fever was at 34%, 30%, 39%, 36% respectively.

Also the WHO and UNICEF 2017 estimates of vaccination coverage in Nigeria showed that the percentage of births that received one dose of Bacillus Calmette Guerin vaccine (BCG) for tuberculosis was 53%, while 42 %of surviving infants received at least one dose of inactivated polio vaccine, 42%of surviving infants received the 1st dose of measles-containing vaccine and  39%surviving infants  received one dose of yellow fever vaccine 

This finding means that children born in the country are vulnerable to killer diseases such as diphtheria, pertussis, tetanus, polio and measles, as only a very low percentage of the children get immunized.

The survey, which was done in partnership with UNICEF and WHO, further disclosed that 1 in 15 live births in Nigeria die before their first birthday.

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