H.E. Mrs Toyin Ojora Saraki, Special Adviser to the Independent Advisory Group (IAG) to the World Health Organization Regional Office for Africa (WHO AFRO), has asked for Nigeria to be given a special category as a global health security issue in terms of infectious diseases and wants the Federal Government to make vaccination a national priority.
Mrs Saraki who made the call while delivering an addressing at the launch of the business case for WHO Immunization Activities in Africa during the 71st World Health Assembly in Geneva, Switzerland stated:
“I thank the WHO for clarifying its transformation plan, as Nigeria could be in danger of falling through the gap of the transition, it tells us that we must strengthen civil society and the private sector to mobilize domestic resources”.
Mrs Saraki who joined senior WHO figures, including Director-General, Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus and Regional Director for Africa, Dr. Matshidiso Moeti, noted further:
“ I would like to add my voice to the request for Nigeria to be given a special category as a global health security issue in terms of infectious diseases and further suggest that the WHO country offices consider assisting the capacity building of the private sector to bring them up to speed and thereby be able to step into the breach”
In his speech, WHO Director-General, Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said“We have released this business case to map out how WHO will better support countries to strengthen their national immunization plans. Immunization is an important building block of strong primary health care and universal health coverage”
While responding to the business plan positively and commending Dr. Tedros’ explanation that vaccination is an important weapon against the outbreak of Ebola in the DRC, Mrs Saraki agreed that the WHO business case reflected a commitment to accountable and successful WHO immunization activities. Following the meeting.
According to her “I welcome the WHO business case for immunization launched today. As Special Advisor to the WHO Africa regional office, I believe that it demonstrates a critical commitment to strengthening life-saving immunization across the continent.”
“Vaccination in some African countries, including Nigeria, should be regarded as a national priority, as it protects not just an individual, but a whole community. An increase of vaccine coverage in low- and middle-income countries by 2030 would prevent 24 million people from falling into poverty due to health expenses. As Dr. Tedros today demonstrated, health workers’ efforts to increase immunization builds the foundation for strong primary health care and is a route to universal health coverage.”*
“Achieving the WHO’s 2030 immunization ambition will save more than 1.9 million lives over the next decade and generate $58 million of economic benefits. I commend the WHO for presenting an overwhelming business and moral case for immunization.”