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UNICEF: Over 39,000 children in Anambra yet to receive pentavalent vaccine

UNICEF: Over 39,000 children in Anambra yet to receive pentavalent vaccine
September 26
19:36 2023

The United Nations International Children’s Emergency Fund (UNICEF), says 39,805 children below the age of two are yet to receive the first dose of the pentavalent vaccine in Anambra.

Juliet Chiluwe, UNICEF chief field officer in Enugu, spoke on Tuesday at a three-day stakeholders’ engagement forum organised in partnership with the Anambra ministry of budget and economic planning.

The pentavalent vaccine, also known as a five-in-one vaccine, is for the prevention of diphtheria, pertussis, tetanus, hepatitis B and Hemophilus influenza type B.

Chiluwe, represented by Olusoji Akinleye, acting field officer, said the statistics were from the multiple indicators of the 2016 and 2021 mixed survey carried out by the National Planning Commission.

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She said the indicators captured in Anambra were worrisome and called for concern as it was the only state in the south-east where penta 3 coverage declined within the period under review.

“Anambra has the highest zero dose cumulative population in the zone, precisely 39,805 children below two years are to receive the first dose of Pentavalent vaccine,” NAN quoted her as saying.

“Access to handwashing facilities in the state is low, and still reducing further. It went down from 30 percent in 2016 to 19 per cent in 2021.

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“Again, access to child education in Anambra is below 70 percent and the second lowest in the south-east. Anambra also has the highest out-of-school children in the region with 23 per cent.

“Only 32 per cent of primary school age children enter primary 1 in the state. All these are all indicators of poverty.”

Chiluwe also said 296,000 under-five children were yet to have their births registered in the state, which was the highest figure in the south-east.

She said children whose births are yet to be registered and documented stand the risk of being denied their rights of identity.

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She added that there was a need for a deliberate, robust and all-inclusive policy on social protection to address the various forms of vulnerabilities and reverse the negative indicators in the state.

“The commissioner for budget and economic planning, Chiamaka Nnake, had given us the assurance and we have agreed to deliver the social protection policy in November,” she said.

“UNICEF as a body is committed to ensuring that the November deadline is achieved. We will mobilise all resources within and outside UNICEF.”

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