Founder of Microsoft and Co-Founder of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, Bill Gates yesterday, in Abuja launched the National Routine Immunisation Strategic Plan, (NRISP).
Gates said, while launching the plan that, “nothing is more important in health in Nigeria than giving immunisation to children and persons in order to prevent diseases.”
He lamented that the manner at which immunisation programmes have been implemented had been very slow, stating that, “vaccination has not operated the way it should be.”
Speaking at the launch, Minister of Health, Prof. Onyebuchi Chukwu, said the new plan will scale up government efforts in preventable diseases through efficient immunisation programmes.
Chukwu observed that while diseases like measles and polio have continued to pose challenges, government is putting in place a strategic framework that will bring about optimum results.
Representative of GAVI Alliance, Dr Mercy Ahun said the organisation has “committed to the immunisation programme in Nigeria and expect a significant increase with additional new vaccines and health systems support in the new future.”
“Nigeria is still home to the wildest inequalities in vaccination coverage by household wealth with more than 9 children vaccinated from the richest household compared with just one child from poorest children vaccinated.”
On his part, Executive Secretary, National Primary Health Care Development Agency (NPHCDA), Dr. Ado Muhammad said the new plan provides details and data based on the best strategies needed to implement an accountable and effective immunisation programme.