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While our advocacy this week is to remind all stakeholders that vaccines work, it is not enough to focus on communities keeping cynical views of vaccines pharmacologic efficacy.
Today marks the first day of Africa Vaccination Week.
At EpidAlert, our advocacy is to the government of Nigeria, hoping to see a shift in attitude towards vaccines financing.
Most of our vaccines today are supports from donors. If we strongly believe in the power of the military to request an injection of $1B in war against Boko Haram, we must begin to understand the role of vaccines in protection of lives and health security of citizens. That $1Billion will begin to remove misinterpretation of external supports, it will activate our vaccines manufacturing, it will grant us regional leadership immediately.
Nigeria still remain in varying degrees of darkness of immunization coverage for these diseases.
Recently, we are aware of how Bill Gates paid the $76million Nigeria owed Japan. The truth is our path to becoming polio free was paved by funds from international organizations like the World Health Organization (WHO), UNICEF, Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, Gavi among others.
The assumption of some of these social investments is to convince Nigeria of what goes into vaccines preventable disease eradication. Ranging from Polio, Yellow Fever, Cerebrospinal Meningitis, Measles, Nigeria still remain in varying degrees of darkness of immunization coverage for these diseases. In the 2016 meningitis, we saw how the country had to convince the International Coordination Group at WHO for some vaccines to help mitigate spread of the disease. That request process in itself opened up some operational gaps in coordination.
While our advocacy this week is to remind all stakeholders that vaccines work, it is not enough to focus on communities keeping cynical views of vaccines pharmacologic efficacy. We hope to also see funding shift. Our country\’s investment in vaccines is our biggest message to the world that Nigerians believe
It is already evident that our scientists are ready to participate, our social marketing engines are ready to fire, we look forward to government closing the gaps. Otherwise, Nigerians at large will continue to remain vulnerable to disabilities, preventable illnesses and possibly untimely deaths.
Whenever you see a blind or deaf person or hear of a child that died mysteriously be sure the root cause is possibly a vaccine preventable disease.
Dr. Lawal Bakare