THE National Primary Health Care Development Agency (NPHCDA), has recognised and rewarded 15 states of the federation for the implementation of best practices in COVID-19 vaccination and Routine Immunizations.
The Executive Director, NPHCDA, Dr Faisal Shuaib, explained at the ceremony on Friday in Abuja, that the 15 states distinguished themselves with the highest qualities and best practices in providing technical and programmatic support to Nigerians.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN), reports that the award was organised to commemorate the 2022 African Vaccination Week, (AVN).
AVN is an annual event celebrated during the last week of April in synchronisation with other World Health Organization (WHO) Regions and World Immunization Week (WIW).
He said that It was also a day to physically meet friends and colleagues for mutual reflections and celebration of their collaborative efforts.
“Our history in the last two years has been inundated with the challenges of COVID-19 emergency, even as we were battling through to eradicate circulating variant polio virus, monkeypox and improve uptake of primary health care services in the country.
“We may not be able to satisfactorily reward those who will be receiving awards today, or adequately cover everyone who deserves to be rewarded.
“But we recognize and are sincerely thankful to everyone because we know that no matter how big a tree might be, it cannot make a forest alone.
He said that the agency prides on the progress made as a country in reaching 42 million eligible persons with COVID-19 vaccines as of Friday.
He added that about 29.6 million of the persons were fully vaccinated, while others were either waiting for their due date for the second dose or on the list of those who were hesitant of taking their second dose.
“Of course, the struggle continues, and it is a matter of sworn trust that we protect the health of our people.
“It is not easy walking through the high-impact of misinformation and disinformation and getting people to willingly accept the COVID-19 vaccine.
“To a lesser extent, we had some experience with polio immunization, but today we have been certified wild polio virus-free! Even the emergence of the circulating variant poliovirus has been significantly controlled in Nigeria,” he said.
He said that the agency set aside a variety of awards for different categories of performances and ensured that the selection criteria were scientific and transparent.
“The selection process was backed by data and was rigorously scrutinized by partners.
“The reward for Hard work is more work. Let us continue to remain committed to the cause of ensuring all Nigerians are protected against vaccine-preventable diseases,” he said.
The NPHCDA boss said the states awarded included Kaduna, Adamawa, Edo, Lagos, Ebonyi, Benue, Jigawa, Gombe, Cross River, Ogun, Abia, Nasarawa, Kano and Yobe.
The goal of the AVW is to strengthen immunization programmes in the African Region by increasing awareness of the importance of every person (particularly every child and woman), needs and right to be protected from vaccine-preventable diseases.
It aims at keeping immunization high on the national and regional agendas through advocacy and partnerships and promotes the delivery of other high-impact lifesaving interventions.
The over-arching slogan of AVW is “Vaccinated Communities, Healthy Communities”
However, to commemorate this year’s AVW, Nigeria adopted the theme “Long Life for All – Vaccinate for Healthy Living”.