The federal government has said that Gavi the vaccine alliance will be prioritising Nigeria in the rollout of the new malaria vaccine over time.
The minister of health, Prof Ali Pate, disclosed this yesterday at the palace of Esu Karu, during the GAVI CEO visit to the palace and New Karu Primary Healthcare Centre, in Nasarawa State.
He said, “I was in Kano yesterday, half of the children in the hospital have malaria. GAVI just told us that they will prioritise Nigeria in the rollout of the new malaria vaccine over time.”
Pate, however, said that the vaccine does not mean that there won’t be malaria treatment anymore but that it will be an additional tool in the fight against malaria.
Expressing the federal government’s commitment to work with the state government and community leaders, the minister said though a lot of progress has been made in immunisation, many children are still not immunised, thus the need to do more to ensure that every child is reached.
“But there are still many children that we missed, and we need to do more to ensure that we reduce those who are completely missing the zero children and as a government, the federal government is committed to work with the state government and the community leaders to ensure that every Nigerian child ultimately gets the benefit of this life saving tools of vaccines, as well as treatment of other diseases.”
He acknowledged the support of the traditional leaders, saying “We realise and we know that traditional leaders are the custodians of tradition of the people. You are with the people and when we partner with you, we succeed. You did a lot and you’re continuing to do a lot of work to help advance the cause of health and immunisation in particular. So, we thank you for that.”
In his remarks, GAVI CEO, David Marlow, said although there has been some progress in overall health care in Nigeria, there is still a huge amount of work to be done.
He said, “Now Nigeria has the largest zero dose children population in the world, with 2.3 million. We spoke earlier with the honorable Professor Pate about also the future opportunity to prevent deaths in Nigeria and the potential is by 2030 to save 5.6 million people’s lives, and that does not even exclude many other potential vaccines such as malaria that we can bring to this country.
“Our partnership is so important to us and we will do everything that we can. The communities, and to serve the country. You have time today, and I’m here to listen, to listen carefully to what you have to tell us, so that we can go back and strengthen the work that we do.
“It is for me a great privilege to be here today with you and to really connect and see how you are facing the challenges of health in your communities, and how we can support you to help strengthen your primary health care systems. And also, to make sure we understand your needs and your challenges because GAVI is here to look after the countries that we work in.”
The Esu Karu, His Royal Highness, Pharm Luka Panya, while expressing delight over the visit to his palace and the state noted that the country needs all its true allies and partners, both international and local.