The National Primary Health Care Development Agency (NPHCDA), says Kaduna State has joined Jigawa, Nasarawa and Kano in vaccinating its target number of eligible persons daily in the COVID-19 mass vaccination campaign in the country.
Dr. Nneka Onu, Director, Primary Health Care Systems, NPHCDA, who represented Executive Director, NPHCDA, Dr Faisal Shuaib, said this on Monday in Abuja, at the bi-weekly Ministerial Press Briefing, update on COVID-19 Response and Development in the Health Sector.
Shuaib said that five States, Nasarawa, Jigawa, Kano, Kwara and Ogun, now lead as the agency’s top performing states on the COVID-19 mass vaccination campaign in the country.
“In the last seven days, Jigawa and Nasarawa improved their coverage of fully vaccinated persons by over 3.5 per cent and 5 per cent respectively.
“Jigawa and Kano have each vaccinated over 2.5 million eligible persons with the first dose, and fully vaccinated over two million more”.
The NPHCDA boss disclosed that some few doses of the Moderna COVID-19 vaccines would be expiring by the end of April 2022.
He said that these vaccines are still efficacious and that would be used up by the states before end of April, adding that this is to further demonstrate the high standards that the agency operates within the country. “The work that we do is the work that requires trust. It is a sacred trust that has been bestowed on us by Nigerians. And we guard that trust very jealously. This is why we do not accept any vaccine doses that is less than six months of expiration.
Shuaib added that to further strengthen vaccine security and accountability, we are deepening our collaboration with the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC), and the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).
“Our partnership in this regard is also aimed at further curbing cases of vaccine mismanagement and other anticipated sharp practices at the vaccination sites.
Also speaking, the Director, Port Health Services (PHS) in the Federal Minister of Health (FMOH), Dr. Geoffrey Okatubo, said that since the announcement by the Presidential Steering Committee on COVID-19, removal of the mandatory Polymerase chain reaction (PCR) testing for fully vaccinated visitors and stiff penalties for unvaccinated travelers violating the new rules, the port had enjoyed few challenges.
Okatubo said that reviewed protocol challenges at the points of entry have reduced.
“This is because of the removal of the mandatory PCR testing for fully vaccinated visitors, our data shows that more than 90 per cent of passengers coming into the country are now fully vaccinated.
“So, that means that fewer number of people are not fully vaccinated, and this set of people are required to do their post-arrival PCR test while coming into the country,” he explained.
He disclosed that some Nigerians also claim to be fully vaccinated, only for the PHS to find out that there were only partially vaccinated.
He, however, said that more than 95 per cent of passengers coming through Kano State are also fully vaccinated against the alleged claim of them not being vaccinated.
On Lassa fever, Dr Salama Kolo, Director, Family Health Department, FMoH, emphasised that the rampant health issues in the country, such as Lassa fever, can be curtailed with conscious preventive measures.
According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), Lassa fever has an atypical mode of presentation, “similar to many of the acute febrile illnesses like malaria or gastrointestinal illness we have in our environment”.
This could make diagnosis difficult and highlights the need for a high index of suspicion. Also, making a confirmed diagnosis requires a sophisticated test that is not routinely available.
Treatment of a patient with Lassa fever will depend on the way the patient presents, and their categorisation as mild or severe.