By Ayodamola Owoseye
Though there has been a substantial decline in global measles death, Nigeria still tops the chart of number of children not vaccinated against measles.
A new report published by the World Health Organisation indicates that 20.8 million children worldwide are still missing their first measles vaccine dose and more than half of these unvaccinated children live in six countries.
In a joint press statement sponsored by CDC/GAVI/UNICEF and WHO on the report, they noted that in spite of the substantial decline of global measles death, a lot still needs to be done.
Nigeria tops the list of countries with unvaccinated children from measles with 3.3 million children, followed by India – 2.9 million, Pakistan – 2.0 million, Indonesia – 1.2 million, Ethiopia – 0.9 million and Democratic Republic of Congo, DRC, with 0.7 million.
Since measles is a highly contagious viral disease, large outbreaks continue to occur in these countries including Nigeria resulting in some deaths.
The Executive Director, National Primary Health Care Development Agency, NPHCDA, Faisal Shuaib, said a surveillance data shows that measles incidence among children under five years increased in Northern Nigeria.
A UNICEF survey earlier revealed that measles among children under the age of five increased more than two-fold in Northern Nigeria between 2014 and 2016.
To curtail the spread of the disease and prevent death of children under five, the federal government has released N3.5 billion for vaccination programme and a nationwide measles campaign has been rolled out for the 2017/2018 measlesimmunisation calendar.
The measles campaign was billed to have started on October 26 in 19 northern states.