Maiduguri, Nigeria 07 February 2018 – World Health Organization (WHO), UNICEF and other partners are supporting the Federal Government and Borno State Ministry of Health to vaccinate more than 1.2 million internally displaced persons (IDPs) across 57 wards in 25 Local Government Areas in Borno State.
More than 3,000 WHO-trained volunteers, including senior supervisors, monitors, healthcare workers and community leaders, will immunize 1.2 million IDPs aged 9 months to 45 years at designated health facilities. The campaign began on 5 February, and is expected to continue until 14 February.
To ensure vaccine availability and uptake, UNICEF supported Borno State Government with vaccine distribution and social mobilization. Through the deployment of over 2,000 community volunteers and key influencers, UNICEF enhanced community engagement for yellow fever preventive vaccination and ensured that community was aware of the campaign and yellow fever risks.
“All children, no matter where they live or what their circumstances are, have the right to survive and thrive, protected from deadly but preventable diseases. Internally displaced children, due to their situation often miss out on vital vaccinations and this campaign is therefore critical to their wellbeing,” said UNICEF Nigeria Representative Mohammed Fall.
To ensure a high-quality campaign, WHO worked with the Borno State Ministry of Health to coordinate and facilitate the training of healthcare workers at all levels, arranged logistics for vaccine distribution and deliver messages on health risks to communities.
“Although Borno State has not reported an outbreak of yellow fever this year, vaccinating internally displaced persons is an exercise of high public health importance to protect most-at-risk populations living in high-risk conditions and prevent the spread of yellow fever, if an outbreak occurs,” said Dr. Wondimagegnehu Alemu, WHO Nigeria Representative.
The Borno State Honourable Commissioner for Health, Dr. Haruna Mshelia, emphasized the importance of vaccinating IDPs in camps and host communities.
“The vulnerable living conditions of millions of people in Borno State and the tide of outbreaks across 16 States in Nigeria makes it imperative to target the most at-risk people with yellow fever vaccination in the State.”
These efforts are part of a larger yellow fever vaccination campaign that seeks to vaccinate more than 25 million people throughout 2018, in the largest yellow fever vaccination drive in Nigeria’s history. This fits into a wider public health goal to eliminate yellow fever epidemics globally by 2026 through the Eliminate Yellow fever Epidemics (EYE) Strategy, steered by WHO, Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance and UNICEF.
Dr Terna Nomwhange nomwhanget [at] who.int, +2348131736264