Controversy trails Nigeria’s stance on adequate stock of children vaccines

The NPHCDA had complained of inadequate vaccine.

Three months after raising the alarm of a potential shortage of immunization vaccines for children, the National Primary Health Care Development Agency, NPHCDA, has said the federal government now has adequate supply of necessary vaccines.

PREMIUM TIMES had reported how the shortage of the vaccines put millions of Nigerian kids at risk based on NPHCDA’s earlier statement and views of Nigerian experts, including scientists of the Nigerian Academy of Science, NAS.

The scientists had last week released a press statement warning of the danger of the stock-out of the vaccines.

While explaining the stance of the scientists, a member of the NAS, Professor Oyewale Tomori, said “the CEO of the National Primary Health care Development Agency, Ado Mohammed, told us that there is going to be a vaccine stock out as the government has not yet released budget for vaccines.”

“According to the October 2013 edition of the Routine Immunization and Logistics Feedback, published by the NPHCDA, the anticipated stock out dates for EPI vaccines are – DTP and Measles (January 2014), BCG and HepB (February 2014), TT (March 2014), OPV (April 2014) and the DPT+HepB+Hib combo (May 2014). We had exhausted our stock of yellow fever vaccine since December 2013. While some frantic efforts have been made to procure more vaccines, the current stock level of vaccines will be completely depleted by March/April 2014,” the NAS had stated in its statement.

However, the NPHCDA in a statement by its head of public relations, Sa’adu Salahu, said; “the Federal Government, in 2014, provided a sum of six billion Naira for vaccine procurement through UNICEF. The Executive Director, Ado Mohammed, assured that all needed vaccines for first quarter of 2014 had already been distributed to all health facilities nation-wide since November last year.”

According to the statement, Mr. Ado gave the assurance that Nigeria had enough vaccines for immunization in all antigens that could last the Nation till the third quarter of 2014; while procurement process for future requests had since commenced.

While reacting to the claim of the NPHCDA, Mr. Tomori told PREMIUM TIMES that “The CEO told me that they were able to get some funds. Though when I asked him, he didn’t tell me from where but I know it is not from the Federal Government.

“From experience from previous stock-out, it is most likely the funds came from a loan from either UNICEF, World Bank or some development partners, and that is a big shame to a nation like ours.”

The scientist added that the fund Mr. Ado was talking about in Sunday’s statement could only have been released recently.

He said it would still take a while for the vaccines to arrive, and longer for them to reach the various health centers around the country.

Efforts to speak to Mr. Ado were unsuccessful as repeated calls to his telephone were unsuccessful.

Mr. Tomori, however, expressed his joy that the federal government was taking actions to avert a vaccine disaster.

“This is what we want to achieve; to raise alarm of impending danger so that something can be done to save the lives of millions of children whose lives are at risk,” he said.


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