“Nobody should be without access to basic medical service and live-saving vaccines”- Vice President, Professor Osibanjo.

No child or individual should be without access to life-saving vaccines and primary health care services,” says Professor Yemi Osinbajo, the Vice President of Federal Republic of Nigeria.

He made the declaration on 16 March 2020 during the official launch of Integrated Medical Outreach Programme (I-MOP) in Abuja, saying, “Today’s event thus represents one of the key commitments of this administration in improving the health of all Nigerian’s. It is a demonstration that no child or individual is too far to be reached with essential medical services and no one will be left unprotected from vaccine preventable diseases. According to Professor Osinbajo, ‘This administration is untiring in its resolve in addressing health inequities and the improvement of access to essential primary health care services.”

Nigeria in the last three years has implemented strategic initiatives to strengthen primary health care and improve the health of children through the implementation of routine immunization programs. The National Demographic Health Survey (NDHS 2018) reveals an increase to 50% from 38% in 2013 in the children immunized with third dose pentavalent vaccine. The improvements in routine immunization are however, not indicative that every child in Nigeria is protected with lifesaving vaccines. Significant equity gaps still exist in underserved communities leading to catastrophic disease outbreaks and deaths in some instances.

In efforts to address the gaps, the National Primary Health Care Development (NPHCDA) with support from the World Health Organization (WHO) is implementing the Integrated Medical Outreach Program (I – MOP) as a nationwide strategic approach to improve immunization outputs and strengthen primary health care. The I – MOP includes the conduct of immunization in fixed posts, temporary fixed posts, mobile teams and medical outreach sessions which will be implemented in 409 lowest performing LGAs in the 36 states and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), to strengthen immunization and primary health care, reduce incidence of circulating Vaccine Derived Polio Virus type 2 (cVDPV2) and increase reach and access to vaccines and primary health care services.

On his part, Nigeria’s Minister of Health, Dr Osagie Ehanire explained that IMO-P focuses on strengthening primary healthcare through integration of services. According to him, IMO-P “ the initiative will galvanize action towards serving under-served communities as well as vulnerable populations with basic medical services.

In their individual presentations, both the Vice President and Minster regretted that the progress made notwithstanding, more than three Million eligible children are yet to be fully immunized.

Speaking on behalf of Partner Agencies, WHO Nigeria Officer in Charge, Dr Fiona Braka said, “To improve health and attain Sustainable Development Goals by 2030, Immunization and Basic Healthcare Provision Centers need to reach children regardless of who or where they are. Nigeria is a priority country for WHO.”

The strategic activities of IMO-P will be implemented over a period of five days with three rounds scheduled to be conducted in 16-20 March, 20-24 April and 1-5 June 2020, with medical outreaches conducted in each of the 109 senatorial districts in the country, providing free basic surgeries, general medical services and immunization services.

Vaccines to be provided during this nationwide intervention are free and are safe. NPHCDA and partners which included WHO, UNICEF, NSTOP, USAID, World Bank and others have trained health workers across the country on this intervention.

Highlight of the National Flag-off which is to be replicated by State Governments across the country, was the symbolic administration of the oral polio vaccine, oral Vitamin administration and Yellow fever vaccination by the Vice President, Minister of Health and the Executive Director of NPHCDA, Dr Faisal Shuaib.

Source: World Health Organization. Africa