| By Vincent Nzemeke |
THE Federal Ministry of Health on Monday, September 16, began the issuance of new secure international certificate of vaccination and prophylaxis, otherwise known as yellow card to travellers. Onyebuchi Chukwu, minister of health, officially inaugurated the new card scheme in Abuja. He said the government came up with a new card following the deportation of some 125 Nigerians from South Africa in March 2012 over their alleged failure to provide genuine yellow fever vaccination documentation.
He said that the old card did not carry the security features in the new one, adding that the old card could easily be forged. “Part of the confusion was that some years ago, the National Council on Health, in its wisdom felt that in order to make it easy for Nigerians to obtain the card, its activities should be decentralised. So, it now permitted state governments, the federal government, and the private sector to print their own yellow cards and issue them; but there was no control; we found out that there were gaps. Now, the National Council on Health has reversed that decision; it said it must be printed by the Federal Ministry of Health alone.”
Chukwu also stated that the new card has many security features which will make it easier to detect fake ones. To print it, we decided that it must be a security document with full security features. “If you go to any part of the world with a fake yellow card today, the people there will know what to look out for and if you have a fake one, they will be able to detect it.” The minister said that other countries had been informed not to recognise the old card from October 1, 2013.
Sani Gwarzo, a consultant to the ministry, advised all prospective international travellers, including pilgrims, to get the new yellow card. He said the card can be obtained with as little as N1,000 in any state of the federation.
— Oct. 14, 2013 @ 01:00 GMT