……..As Southwest Traditional rulers converge on Ondo for quarterly review meeting on primary healthcare…….
BY BUKOLA BARDI
Nigeria is to introduce Human papilloma virus, HPV, Vaccine into its routine immunisation schedule by September this year to stem the tide of cervical cancer in the country.
The executive director, National Primary Healthcare Development Agency, Dr Faisal Shuaib announced this in Akure at the opening of the quarterly review meeting of Southwest zone traditional leaders’ Committee on primary healthcare.
Dr Shuaib lamented that cervical cancer was cutting short the lives of many promising women and girls hence the need to make the HPV Vaccine available for girls between nine and fourteen years at at no cost.
He noted that traditional rulers, being the closest to the people should assist the federal government by encouraging people to access primary health care services especially on preventable diseases.
Dr. Faisal Shuaib, revealed that from January to June 2023, a total of 189,310 children in the Southwest zone lack access to or were never reached by any routine immunization.
He explained that the meeting was aimed at promoting an effective primary health care delivery to the people of the Southwest in particular and Nigeria in general.
His words: “These children are referred to as zero dose children. Notably, Lagos has the highest count, with 79,279 zero dose children, followed by Oyo state with 53,812 children, Ondo with 30,280 children, Osun with 19,737 children, Ogun with 3,204 children, and finally Ekiti with 2,998 children who have never received any form of vaccination effort.
Ondo State acting governor, Mr Lucky Aiyedatiwa while declaring open the meeting said the pivotal role played by traditional rulers in healthcare delivery system were yielding results especially in the ares of routine immunisation as well as maternal and child health.
The Ooni of Ife, Oba Enitan Ogunwusi disclosed that traditional rulers in the Southwest were working closely with the federal government to ensure that Nigerians have access to quality healthcare.
Oba Ogunwusi promised that the meeting would review ways of strengthening the nation’s health system with specific attention to resurgence of polio which the country had fully eradicated.
The chairman, Ondo state traditional Council and Deji of Akure, Oba Aladelusi Aladetoyinbo appealed to the federal government to make primary health care service more accessible to people at the grassroots to reduce cases of child killer diseases.
At the end of the Quarterly review meeting, the monarchs are expected to come up with more advocacy and sensitisation plans for the development of primary healthcare in the country.
The meeting was attended by twenty-four traditional rulers from the six Southwest states.