With the support of the World Health Organization, UNICEF, the Vaccine Alliance, and other health partners, the Federal Government has revealed its plan to vaccinate not less than 21 million people against yellow fever by the end of 2018.
The Nigeria Minister of health, Prof Isaac Ajewole made this known in Abuja on Tuesday while speaking at the launch of the Eliminate Yellow Fever (EYF).
He said the number of suspected cases, confirmed cases and death which occurred during the outbreak of yellow fever last September last year necessitated the nationwide mass vaccination campaign.
He said; “Eliminating yellow fever is a matter of life and death for us. The last outbreak was in 1996 and we thought it was over and went to sleep. However, we had a fresh outbreak in September 2017, when the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) was informed of the first case which started in Ifelodun LGA of Kwara state. “Since then, we have recorded about 1,640 suspected cases; over 115 confirmed in Nigeria and 41 in the regional lab in Dakar, Senegal, and no fewer than 49 deaths. We have also successfully vaccinated over 14,591 people in Kwara, Kogi, Niger, Zamfara, Kebbi, and Nasarawa states. Our target is to cover 21 million Nigerians by the end of this year.”
The Director-General of WHO, Dr Tedros Gbebreyesus, speaking at the launching disclosed that about 27 African countries are at a high risk of yellow fever with an average of 60,000 deaths every year.
Speaking further, he said EYE has positioned itself to vaccinate nearly 0ne billion people across Africa by 2026.
“The world is facing an increased risk of yellow fever outbreaks and Africa is particularly vulnerable. However, with one injection, we can protect a person for life against this dangerous pathogen. This unprecedented commitment by countries will ensure that by 2026 Africa is free of yellow fever epidemics,” he said.