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1m Nigerian children die yearly from diseases – Health minister

Prof. Ali Muhammad Pate, the Coordinating Minister of Health and Social Welfare, has said about a million children under 5 years old die every year…

Prof. Ali Muhammad Pate, the Coordinating Minister of Health and Social Welfare, has said about a million children under 5 years old die every year in Nigeria from diseases, including vaccine-preventable ailments.

The minister who disclosed this while speaking on several issues on Channels Television’s Sunday Politics said 70 per cent of the deaths were preventable.

“Let’s put it in context; there are about a million deaths of children under five every year in this country, 70 per cent of which are vaccine-preventable like diphtheria, missiles, pneumonia and other vaccines that are available already and are really cost-effective.

“In many parts of the country, the primary healthcare system is struggling to ease the uptake of these cost-effective vaccines and we are revamping infrastructure to be able to do this,” he said.

Pate said President Bola Ahmed Tinubu’s government targeted policies that would directly touch the lives of the masses, adding that investment in the health sector was one of them.

He said many tools were being deployed to contain malaria fever in Nigeria, including the use of mosquito nets and vaccines.

He said Nigeria was ready to deploy the new malaria vaccines in the country as soon as possible.

The world’s biggest vaccine maker on Sunday said it would start rolling out a cheap new malaria inoculation in Africa in May.

The Serum Institute of India (SII) this year plans to ship 25 million doses of the new vaccine, developed along with Oxford University researchers and known as R21.

The R21 vaccine, a three-dose course and booster shot for children aged 5-36 months is the second malaria shot approved by the World Health Organisation (WHO).

Chad, Central African Republic, DR Congo, Mozambique and South Sudan will be the first five countries to receive R21 doses, a UNICEF spokesperson said.

“Uganda and Nigeria are planning to introduce it later in the year,” he added.

 

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