By Victor Anya
Prof. Ali Pate, Minister of Health
The Minister of Health and Social Welfare, Professor Ali Pate has said that 98 per cent of children infected by diphtheria in 19 states were not immunized. The minister made this disclosure at the Northern Traditional Leaders’ Committee (NTLC) on Primary Health Care Services Delivery quarterly evaluation meeting held on Wednesday in Abuja.
The appraisal meeting was put together by the National Primary Health Care Development Agency and the News Agency of Nigeria reports that the NTLC meeting is a forum for the NPHCDA and its partners to discuss with traditional leaders on their roles towards enhancing healthcare delivery in their respective communities.
The minister called for quick vaccination campaign, advising the 19 states to unite in order to save the lives of the endangered children.
Pate said that the ministry and other stakeholders had come together to forcefully deal with the diphtheria challenge that had remained in the country for months.
“The major focus of these collaborations is to improve local governance and boost delivery of essential health services. These include all appropriate stakeholders in the collaboration and not only the Federal Government.
“All leaders, including our highnesses and representatives from the private sector, are working together vigorously to deal with the pressing diphtheria issue that affects our people,” he said.
The minister added that a major landmark was the upcoming launch of the Human Papillomavirus vaccine in Nigeria later in October.
“This vaccine does not only aim to prevent cervical cancer in future but also stress the significance of engaging our royal fathers and strengthening the health sector to ensure efficient delivery of vaccines.
“It recognizes that different population section require diverse approaches with childhood immunization programmes providing for adolescent age groups and COVID-19 vaccinations aiming at adults,” he said.
Pate stated that technical experts involved in the project had reassured the country of the safety and effectiveness of the HPV vaccine.
“Their expertise and responses to different questions have stimulated confidence in approving the use of the vaccine to protect our girls and prevent future health complications,” he said.
Speaking further, he said that the collaboration taken by state governments and other stakeholders was a good example within the sub-region and other parts of the world.
“The unity and decision taken by all members involved in this venture emphasize the commitment to deal with health challenges and protect the health of all Nigerians.
“With the collaborative efforts of state governments, other stakeholders and technical experts, there is assurance that this combined efforts will yield positive outcomes and bring out the needed solutions to improve public health,” he said.
Pate thanked traditional leaders across the country for their enduring support for public health programmes, leading to a successful fight against wild poliovirus in the country.
“Since we don’t have children paralyzed by wild poliovirus presently is due to your quality leadership and the commitment of more than 100,000 traditional leaders,” he said.
The Sultan of Sokoto and President-General, Nigerian Supreme Council for Islamic Affairs, His Eminence, Muhammad Sa’ad Abubakar III, appealed to Nigerians to live in peace for the unity of Nigeria.