A don, Prof. F. Adu, has said government at all levels must immediately put in place a mechanism to improve the quality and raise the level of routine immunisation coverage in the country.
Adu, who is the Consultant Virologist and Director of the World Health Organisation Laboratory at the University of Ibadan, said this was the only way to prevent unnecessary deaths of children from vaccine preventable diseases.
Speaking at his inaugural lecture, he noted that the success of any immunisation programme was absolutely dependent to a large extent on the quality and level of vaccination coverage.
He said, ?Routine immunisation coverage is far too low in Nigeria while the quality of mass immunisation is not high enough to wipe out the wild viruses. Polio has continued to circulate and paralyse the Nigerian children because a substantial number of them are not being immunised or are under-immunised.
?The emergence in Nigeria of circulating vaccine-derived polio viruses, a rare strain of polio virus is an indication that far too many children remain unvaccinated or under-immunised.?
Adu said as a nation, there must be a national and political will to protect children.
This, he said, could be done by allocating a higher percentage of the annual budget to health and education.
He said, ?The health of any nation is its wealth and its children and future are its greatest treasure. Politicians should pay more attention to routine immunisation. More responsibility and accountability should be placed on the local government council chairmen regarding immunisation.
?Routine immunisation should be strengthened and made compulsory for all children and women; it should be made one of the strict conditions for entry into educational institutions.?
The don said vaccines should be made available always.
According to Adu, Nigeria after 48 years of independence, should have started producing its own vaccines instead of importing them.