The Paediatric Association of Nigeria (PAN) has expressed concern over the high rate of zero-dose immunisation in the country, revealing that more than 2.5 million Nigerian children remain unvaccinated.
Professor Ekanem Ekure, the President-elect of PAN and a Professor of Paediatrics at the College of Medicine, University of Lagos, shared this information during a press conference in Lagos titled “Reaching Every Child with Optimal Care.”
Ekure highlighted the urgent need for vaccination, stating that Nigeria has the highest burden of under-five deaths globally, which is closely linked to having the highest number of zero-dose vaccines in the world.
Last year, Dr. Walter Mulombo, the World Health Organisation’s Country Representative in Nigeria, estimated that around 6.2 million Nigerian children were unvaccinated from 2019 to 2021 due to the negative impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The association also expressed concerns about child abuse, malnutrition, and the increasing number of out-of-school children in Nigeria. They emphasised the importance of addressing these issues through advocacy and proper resource management.
Professor Oluremi Ogunride, the President of PAN, stressed the need for improved resource management to counteract the brain drain affecting the health sector. He also emphasised the importance of training health workers, educating communities, and ensuring proper antenatal care for women.
Additionally, Ogunride urged specific states, including Anambra, Gombe, Bauchi, Zamfara, and Kano, to adopt and domesticate the Child Rights Act.