The National Primary Health Care Development Agency (NPHCDA) has reaffirmed its commitment to improving vaccination coverage.
Its Executive Director, Dr Muyi Aina, made the pledge at the end of the 14th African Rotavirus Symposium (ARS), under the theme “Rotavirus Disease Control in Africa: Vaccination and Surveillance as the Foundation of an Integrated Approach” in Abuja.
The 14th ARS was organised by AfrRN, co-hosted by the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control and Prevention (NCDC) and NPHCDA, in collaboration with the Federal Ministry of Health (FMoH).
Aina acknowledged the significant impact of rotavirus infections in the country and emphasised the importance of combatting this disease.
He highlighted the introduction of the Rotavirus vaccine into routine immunization schedule as a significant step in addressing rotavirus infections.
He expressed gratitude to partners and stakeholders for their support in enhancing routine immunization overage, and emphasized the need to ensure that eligible persons are immunized.
He called for collective efforts and determination to make a difference and protect every child through vaccination.
Dr Ifedayo Adetifa, the Director-General of NCDC, called for collaboration and support to introduce the rotavirus vaccine in African countries that had yet to implement it.
Adetifa also called for sustained genomic surveillance and monitoring of the genetic diversity of rotavirus strains, post-vaccine and post-vaccine switch.
He advocated the adoption of one-health approach to better assess the evolution dynamics of rotavirus and highlighted the necessity of enhancing collection, storage, transportation and data management at regional rotavirus laboratories across the continent.
He said “it calls for the implementation of context-specific practices to expand and roll out new vaccines, ensuring community engagement and inter-sectoral collaboration.”
Dr Oyeladun Okunromade, the Co-Chair, Local Organizing Committee, urged the remaining 12 African countries to introduce rotavirus vaccines into their national immunization programs.
She called on GAVI, UNICEF, and WHO to address the persistent issue of rotavirus vaccine stockpiling and improve communication with countries regarding vaccine forecasting.
“This is crucial to ensure the effective impact of rotavirus vaccines on fertility, mortality and overall health outcomes,” she said.
Rotavirus is the most common severe diarrheal disease in Africa.
Rotavirus vaccine can prevent rotavirus disease.