The United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) says over 600,000 children are yet to be immunised against childhood killer diseases in Kano, Katsina and Jigawa states.
UNICEF’s Chief Field Officer in Kano state, Rahama Farah, said this on Thursday during a media briefing on the organisation’s State of the World Children’s (SOWC) 2023: Immunisation and Zero Dose situation in Kano Field office states.
He said of the numbers, Kano state had the highest number with over 300,000 of yet to be immunised children, representing 55 per cent.
Farah said the children were scattered across 44 local government areas (LGAs) with majority resident in Kano state followed by Jigawa and Katsina.
He said that the victims were in remote and out-of-reach of normal health system areas.
“We in UNICEF are very concerned about the zero dose number of children not immunised in the three states of Kano, Katsina and Jigawa under the Kano field office.
“We are concerned because this is the basic fundamental child rights in terms of having access to immunisation services.
“We know that globally, children are dying because they don’t have access to preventable diseases vaccination.
“And this is a major concern for us in Nigeria and Kano in particular,” he said.
The official stated that: “Over 600,000 children who missed first dose of immunisation are in Kano, Katsina and Jigawa States.
“Over 300,000 of the children who are in Kano, represents 55 per cent.
“We have 26 per cent of the children in Jigawa state and 19 per cent in Katsina state.
“We are calling on every community leader, policy makers to put hands together to build partnership and reduce the high number of children not immunised against the child killer diseases.”
“We are calling on the government to increase investment in health system to reach out to the children.
“We also call for community engagement in terms of creating demand and build the confidence on the effectiveness of the vaccines,” Farah added.
Similarly, the UNICEF’s Health Specialist, Abimbola Aman-Olaniyo, said children who were not immunised were obviously vulnerable to preventable diseases and prone to outbreaks, citing the recent cases of Diphtheria outbreak in Kano state and Celebrospinal meningitis in Jigawa state.
According to her, the fund plans to reach 250,985 children in Kano, 154,768 and 94,060 children in Katsina and Jigawa states, respectively, for the year 2023 to reduce the zero dose children. (NAN)