Federal Government Introduces Pneumococcal Conjugate Vaccine in Nigeria
The Pneumococcal Conjugate Vaccine (PCV) was launched in Lokoja Kogi State on December 22, at the launch were National Primary Health Care Development Agency (NPHCDA), the arm of Federal Ministry of Health responsible for Routine Immunization in Nigeria, also at the event were representatives of The World Health Organization (WHO), The United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF), The Paediatric Association of Nigeria (PAN), Clinton Health and Access Initiative, GlaxoSmithKline and other partners in the routine immunization landscape in Nigeria
The Kogi State Governor, His Excellency Capt. Idris Wada described the introduction of the new pneumococcal conjugate vaccine as an essential response to reducing pneumonia in Nigeria.
The Governor, who was represented by his deputy, Arch. Yomi Awoniyi, said the newly introduced vaccine is a laudable initiative that is capable of protecting young children against pneumonia and other diseases, and disclosed that it is another strategy aimed at reaching every child at risk of pneumonia. He further called on stakeholders who are in the fore front of disseminating information on immunization and other health sectors to influence the acceptance of the newly introduced vaccine.
Speaking at the launch, the Executive Director, National Primary Healthcare Development Agency, Dr. Ado Muhammad said by the time the nation achieves full time national coverage of the vaccine, Nigeria will avert over 600,000 childhood deaths over 3 years. He assured that the Federal government will ensure the availability of the "lifesaving" vaccines for the Nigerian child towards achieving the Millennium Development Goal 4 (MDG4).
According to WHO Country Director, Dr. Rui VAS, "The introduction of PCV in Nigeria will ultimately improve the Child Health outcome of the country and accelerate the progress of the country towards achieving the MDG4 Goal". The Country Director who was represented by Dr. Musa Omotosho said over 177,000 children under five years of age die from Pneumococcal diseases annually in Nigeria, and that "The introduction of PCV into the country EPI schedule will ultimately improve the health outcome of children in the country”
Also commenting at the event was the Director of Disease Control and Immunization NPHCDA, Dr. Emmanuel Abanida “We are happy this is happening at this critical time in Nigeria. Globally, pneumonia kills nearly 1 million children younger than 5 years of age each year. This is greater than the number of deaths from any infectious disease, such as HIV infection, malaria or tuberculosis. This is the reason why we are more than happy to jump start the administration of this Vaccine to ensure our children live healthy life”. He implored“all partners to be unrelenting in their support until every child in all African countries has protection against infection by bacteria or viruses that may cause pneumonia”
The introduction of the new vaccine will initially commence in some states in Nigeria, However once nationwide introduction is achieved this historical vaccine introduction will ensure the availability of the PCV through the public health system at no cost for all children less than 1 year of age.
Mr. Lekan Asuni, the Managing Director GlaxoSmithKline Pharmaceutical in Nigeria, the manufacturer of the Pneumococcal Conjugate Vaccine, also at the launch stated that the introduction will bring a remarkable improvement in the reduction of childhood death related to Pneumococcal diseases.
Pneumonia, is an infection of the lungs, needlessly affects millions of people worldwide each year. Pneumonia infections can often be prevented and can usually be treated.