The National Primary Health Care Development Agency (NPHCDA) has recognized and rewarded 15 states of the Federation for the implementation of best practices in COVID-19 vaccination and routine immunisations.
The executive director, NPHCDA, Dr. Faisal Shuaib, explained during the award ceremony at the weekend in Abuja that the 15 states distinguished themselves with the highest qualities and best practices in providing technical and programmatic support to Nigerians.
Science Nigeria reports that the award was organised to commemorate the 2022 African Vaccination Week, (AVN), an annual event celebrated during the last week of April in synchronisation with other World Health Organisation (WHO) regions and the World Immunisation Week (WIW).
He said it was also a day to physically meet friends and colleagues for mutual reflections and celebration of their collaborative efforts.
“Our history in the last two years has been inundated with the challenges of COVID-19 emergency, even as we were battling through to eradicate circulating variant polio virus, monkeypox and improve uptake of primary health care services in the country.
“We may not be able to satisfactorily reward those who will be receiving awards today, or adequately cover everyone who deserves to be rewarded, but I can assure you that, in all intent, we recognize and are sincerely thankful to everyone because we know that no matter how big a tree might be, it cannot make a forest alone.
“In one way or the other someone who is not receiving an award today has also contributed to the emergence of another who is receiving an award here today,” Shuaib explained.
He said that the agency prides itself on the progress made as a country in reaching 41,993,566 eligible persons with COVID-19 vaccines as of August 26, 2022.
He added that about 29,653,312 of these persons were fully vaccinated, while others were either waiting for their due date for the second dose or were on the list of those hesitant to take their second dose.
“Of course, the struggle continues and it is a matter of sworn trust that we protect the health of our people.
“It is not easy walking through the high-impact of misinformation and disinformation and getting people to willingly accept the COVID-19 vaccine.
“To a lesser extent, we had some experience with polio immunisation, but today we have been certified wild polio virus-free. Even the emergence of the circulating variant poliovirus has been significantly controlled in Nigeria,” he said.
He said that the agency set aside a variety of awards for different categories of performances and has ensured that the selection criteria were scientific and transparent as they can be.
“The selection process was backed by data and was rigorously scrutinized by partners. I enjoin you all to stay excited and hopeful for the best, as we proceed with this event. We would also like to use this medium to encourage us to do more for our children and our eligible population.
“The reward for hard work is more work. Let us continue to remain committed to the cause of ensuring all Nigerians are protected against vaccine-preventable diseases,” he said.
The NPHCDA boss said that the states awarded were Kaduna, Adamawa, Edo, Lagos, Ebonyi, Benue, Jigawa, Gombe, Cross River, Ogun, Abia, Nasarawa, Kano and Yobe states.
“The best-performing state in routine immunisation in the northwest zone is Kaduna, for the northeast zone is Adamawa, for the south-south zone is Edo, for the southwest zone is Lagos, for the southeast zone is Ebonyi and for the north-central zone is Benue.
“The best performing state for COVID-19 in the northwest zone is Jigawa, for the northeast zone is Gombe, for the south-south zone is Cross River, for the southwest zone is Ogun, for the southeast zone is Abia and for the north-central zone is Nasarawa.
“The overall, most-improved state award goes to Kano State, the most improved state in routine immunization goes to Yobe, while the overall best state in routine immunization goes to Ebonyi.
“The overall best state in COVID-19 is Nasarawa State,” he explained.