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UNICEF: Nigeria needs improved infrastructure to accommodate malaria vaccine

UNICEF: Nigeria needs improved infrastructure to accommodate malaria vaccine
October 08
23:25 2021

The United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) says Nigeria needs to improve its health infrastructure to ensure quality administration of the malaria vaccine.

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Peter Hawkins, UNICEF representative in Nigeria, said this on Friday during an interview with NAN in Abuja.

The World Health Organisation (WHO) had, on Wednesday, recommended widespread administration of the RTS, S/AS01 (RTS, S) malaria vaccine to children in Africa.

According to the WHO’s recommendations, the vaccine is effective in the prevention of “P. falciparum malaria in children living in regions with moderate to high transmission”.

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Hawkins said although the vaccine will not be immediately available in Nigeria, the federal government needs to commit adequate resources to build on the available infrastructure for administering the vaccine.

“WHO’s recommendation is very good news, but it will take some time before the vaccines are available publicly. The immunisation structure in Nigeria is still evolving and it is a very robust structure,” he said.

“There is routine immunisation for children under five years. There are vaccines for polio, measles, pneumococcal disease, and the COVID-19 vaccines; the next one will be a vaccine for malaria.

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“In the next two to three years, we need to build the infrastructure further so that it can accommodate the malaria vaccine, flu vaccine, and other vaccines that are coming.

“The key issue will be the cost, the call chain, the distribution system. The cost of the vaccine will be the fundamental decider for a country with high malaria burden as Nigeria to push this forward.

“I think that Nigeria will agree to use the vaccine and in time, see how it can accommodate it in the whole immunisation programme.

“All the diseases facing children are preventable. It is very important to look at the statistics; for instance, pneumonia is another problem which is where the pneumococcal disease is being introduced.”

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