The federal government has said that it is collaborating with the World Health Organization (WHO) and the United States Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) to see how Nigeria can access the global stockpile of monkeypox vaccination to arrest the outbreak of the disease.
The government’s move came just as the National Primary HealthCare Development Agency (NPHCDA) said that it has vaccinated 30,327,550 persons with the first dose.
It said that the figure of the first dose vaccination represented 23.9 per cent of the country’s eligible population, while 14,629,451 persons have received their second dose.
According to the agency, 18,291,072 were fully vaccinated, which represents 16.4 per cent of Nigeria’s eligible population, while 1,229,909 persons have received their booster doses.
The Executive Director of NPHCDA, Dr. Faisal Shuaib, who spoke to journalists at the flag-off of COVID-19 vaccination at Community Pharmacies on Tuesday in Abuja, said the federal government is presently emphasizing on strict observation of public health safety measures to limit the spread of monkeypox disease across the country.
The NPHCDA boss said the agency is working with the US NCDC to make sure that all of the strategies to limit its spread were put in place.
“We are also engaging the World Health Organization (WHO) and the United States Centre for Disease Control to see how Nigeria can also access the global stockpile of monkeypox vaccination.
“Until the vaccines are available, government is emphasizing the use basic measures to limit the spread of monkeypox disease,” he said.
He solicited the support of the media to sensitize Nigerians on ways to avoid being infected.
While speaking on the rollout of the vaccination in community pharmacies, Shuaib said the whole essence of collaboration with community pharmacists is to ensure that vaccination and immunization activities are brought down to the grassroots level for 24 hours per day.
He said the aim is to collaborate with community pharmacists to improve COVID-19 vaccination coverage.
Shuaib, the Federal Ministry of Health and the Presidential steering committee had launched the S.C.A.L.E.S 2.0 as one of the national strategies for COVID-19 vaccine rollout.
He explained that the S.C.A.L.E.S. strategy entailed the expansion of vaccination sites beyond government health facilities to include private health facilities and community pharmacies in line with global best practices.
“It is as part of this laudable initiative that we are here today to officially launch this exciting collaboration between the Association of Community Pharmacists of Nigeria and the NPHCDA.
“Community pharmacies are one of the most easily accessible and frequently consulted points of care for healthcare service delivery by the public sector, especially in underserved population due to their interconnectedness with the communities.
“In Nigeria, for example, community pharmacies’ involvement in differentiated care and administration of antiretroviral medicines for HIV care have been shown to improve retention on treatment, adherence to medication, and overall better treatment outcomes,” he said.
Shuaib noted that community pharmacists have contributed greatly during the heat of the COVID-19 pandemic through ensuring the availability and distribution of personal protective equipment (PPEs) and hand sanitizers.
He said that the synergy will enhance Nigeria’s COVID-19 vaccination programme and help the country achieve herd immunity, while strengthening the healthcare system and contributing to health security.
“With over 6,000 community pharmacies spread across the country, coupled with the ease of access and long operating hours, I believe this will contribute to rapidly increasing vaccination coverage. I am excited about this collaboration and I believe it will add zest to the country’s effort to attain the national target of 70% vaccination coverage that is necessary to achieve herd immunity,” he said.
The Director of the Primary HealthCare Boar in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Dr. Yakubu Mohammed, charged members of the Association of Community Pharmacies of Nigeria to see the programme as an opportunity to help spread the message of vaccination to the rural populace and improve on the immunization coverage in the country.
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