This is a detailed guide on the importance of immunization in Nigeria, read to the end to know why you should be immunized.
Immunization is an essential component of primary health care and an absolute human right. It is also one of the best health practices people should embrace.
The importance of immunization in Nigeria cannot be underrated, it has prevented many infectious diseases that would have killed thousands of people.
If you are always scared of getting an immunisation, read this article on the importance of immunization in Nigeria, to know why you should always be present for immunization.
Immunization is the process of giving a vaccine to a person to guard them against infection. it is the action of making a person resistant to infection.
Immunization is important for the prevention and control of infectious disease outbreaks.
However, according to the Nigerian Federal Ministry of Health, children are believed to be vaccinated when they have received a BCG vaccination against tuberculosis; three doses of DPT to prevent diphtheria, whooping cough, and tetanus; at least three doses of polio vaccine; and one dose of measles vaccine.
Immunization against childhood diseases such as diphtheria, pertussis, tetanus, polio, and measles helps in averting childhood morbidity and mortality.
However, to show how important immunization is, parents or guardians are provided with a health card on which each dose is recorded to keep track of the delivery of these immunisations
Furthermore, vaccinations are not just for children, adults too need to take vaccination to guard themselves, especially during a virus outbreak.
However, according to the National Policy on Immunisation, regular immunization of children in Nigeria is carried out using the following vaccines:
1. BCG ( Bacilli Calmette Guerin)—at birth or as soon as possible after birth
2. OPV (Oral Polio Vaccine)—at birth and 6, 10, and 14 weeks of age
3. DPT (Diphtheria, pertussis, tetanus)—at 6, 10, and 14 weeks of age
4. Hepatitis B—at birth, 6 and 14 weeks
5. Measles—at 9 months of age
6. Yellow Fever—at 9 months of age
7. Vitamin A—at 9 months and 15 months of age
Factors Affecting Immunization in Nigeria
There are many factors affecting immunization in Nigeria, these factors have thwarted the efforts of the National Programme on Immunisation (NPI) to properly carry out immunization in some parts of Nigeria.
However, below are the factors affecting immunization in Nigeria.
1. Misinterpretation of immunization
Many people in Nigeria have a wrong understanding of immunization and its role in the prevention of widespread diseases.
Many people believe that immunization is dangerous to health and can cause more harm than good.
However, many parents do not know that they should take their babies to the hospital for immunization, while some people know but trivialize it.
Additionally, many parents believe that a vaccine against measles is the only form of immunization forgetting that other deadly diseases should be prevented.
Even during covid 19 outbreak, many adults refused to take the vaccine, giving various excuses that showed that they were ignorant about the vaccine.
2. Influence Of Religion
Nigerians are very religious, and religion has so much influence on some people that they believe that immunization is anti christ or is not accepted by their prophets or gods.
However, many over-religious Nigerians have been brainwashed by their clerics to avoid anything that is being injected into their bodies as it will make them sin against God, and this has caused many untold deaths.
3. Lack Of Education
Lack of education is one of the factors affecting immunization in Nigeria, and it is important to address it because many parents have killed their children ignorantly.
Many people rejecting immunization in Nigeria do not know the importance of immunization, and some even argued that their forefathers did not need immunization, so why should they?
It is important to thoroughly address people who lack basic education on the importance of immunization using different means.
4. Limited Cold Chain Equipment
Limited cold chain equipment is one of the factors affecting immunization in Nigeria.
Over the years Nigeria has received large quantities of cold chain equipment, but they do not last due to lack of proper maintenance.
Cold chain equipment is necessary for the preservation of polio VA. The government needs to invest in vaccine supply chain infrastructure such as freezer rooms, refrigerators, cold boxes, vaccine carriers and temperature monitoring devices.
The government should also train health workers on how to manage cold chain equipment to keep vaccines safe during transportation and storage.
Polio is a deadly viral disease that was once the major cause of paralysis among children worldwide, But thousands of children are still missing out on the polio vaccine.
However, to eliminate polio, every child in every household must be vaccinated.
5. Rejection of immunization
Another problem and challenge facing immunization in Nigeria is the rejection of selected vaccines by parents or religious bodies.
Fear and confusion have caused many decision-makers and caregivers to reject immunization due to rumours, and false information.
Fears regarding immunization are expressed in many parts of Nigeria. Some parents believe that some immunization is sponsored by unknown enemies in the western world to eradicate children in Africa.
The widespread false information that immunization can prevent all childhood illnesses reduces trust, especially when immunization fails to give such protection, which is bound to happen.
6. Shortage of vaccines and immunization supplies
The supply of vaccines has always been challenging in Nigeria, mostly because of inadequate funds and the delay in the release of funds.
The government needs to support immunization programmes by supplying vaccines, needles and syringes, cold chain equipment and other things that are required for immunization.
However, UNICEF stepped in to begin supplying vaccines via a procurement services agreement but this has not still solved the problem of vaccine shortages.
Also read: Importance of Political Parties in Nigeria
Importance of Immunization in Nigeria
Immunization is very important in Nigeria and below are the importance of immunization in Nigeria.
1. Immunization has led to the eradication of smallpox and also the elimination of polio in Nigeria.
2. Immunization in Nigeria has led to the good health and survival of children.
3. Immunization prevents infants and young children from dying every year from rotavirus diarrhoea and pneumococcal disease.
4. Through immunization, the measles mortality rate in Nigeria has been reduced.
5. Immunization reduces mortality, morbidity rate and direct and indirect medical costs.
6. Immunization has reduced the rate of flu and Hepatitis B.
7. Immunization saves children from severe illness and complications of vaccine-preventable diseases including amputation of an arm or leg, immobility of limbs, hearing loss, convulsions, brain damage, and death.
8. Immunization helps prevent diseases, such as measles, mumps, and whooping cough from affecting children.
9. If children avoid immunization, they can spread the disease to other children who are too young to be vaccinated or to people with weak immune systems.
10. immunization has reduced and eliminated many diseases that killed or severely disabled people in the past.
11. Getting immunized is less expensive than getting treated for the diseases that the immunization would have protected you from.
12. If there is a disease in a community, there is little to no risk of an outbreak if people are immunized.
That is all on the importance of immunization in Nigeria, I hope it helps you see the reasons why you should always get immunized.