The World Health organisation has launched the Eliminate Yellow fever Epidemic, EYES, strategy in which nearly one billion people will be vaccinated against yellow fever in 27 high risk African countries by 2026.
The Director General of WHO, Dr. Tedros Ghebreyesus, launched the strategy at the Eliminate Yellow Fever Regional kick off meeting in Abuja, Nigeria.
According to him,African leaders should show more commitment towards eliminating yellow fever in the region ,and take preventive measures to reduce the disease .
“With one single injection we can protect a person for life against this dangerous pathogen .The world is facing an increased risk of yellow fever outbreaks and Africa is particularly vulnerable ”
“Yellow fever has re-emerged as a public health threat in Africa and the America. In Africa, twenty seven countries are at high risk of yellow fever epidemics. There are up to one hundred and seventy thousand severe cases of yellow fever and sixty thousand deaths every year,”
The director general of World health organisation ,noted that strong partnership with stakeholders in the health sector will help in eliminating yellow fever by 2026.
“Yellow fever must be a priority for Africa and in fact for the whole world. The EYES strategy is based on lessons learnt from previous experience in West Africa where mass campaigns combined with routine immunisation have helped to prevent yellow fever outbreaks”
“We are therefore calling on high risk countries to intensify efforts to ensure that yellow fever is kicked out of their countries ”
While speaking, he charged the Nigerian government to ensure that those who are in the insurgents states are vaccinated ,though at present 1.2 million people have received the vaccines in Borno state ”
“We are commending the Nigerian government for showing commitment and vaccinating over thirteen million persons against yellow fever since October 2017 till date”
The WHO regional Director for African, Dr. Rebecca Moetti, disclosed that with the launch of EYES,the World health organisation is implementing efforts that follows the endorsement of the strategy by African ministers of health at the 67th regional committee meeting in 2017.
“We aim to protect people living in thirty five countries at risk through preventive and routine vaccination. The strategy will prevent international spread of the disease as well”,
“By the end of 2020 all the EYES countries will have introduced routine children immunization ,and by 2024 all the countries will have stabilize their capacities ”
While speaking ,The minister of health, Professor Isaac Adewole, said the world is facing an increased risk of yellow fever outbreaks and Africa is particularly vulnerable.
According to him,with unprecedented commitment by countries ,Africa will be free of yellow fever by 2026.
“With one injection we can protect a person for life against this dangerous pathogen .This unprecedented commitment by countries will ensure that by 2026 Africa is free of yellow fever disease ”
Professor Adewole further disclosed that 14 million people have been immunized so far,but the target is 25 million this year ,but we plan to cover the whole nation in 7 years .
“Since 2014,we have been doing preventive campaign in 3 states ,including ,Akwa Ibom, Cross River and Nasarawa States as part of the 7 year plan to provide adequate vaccination to prevent yellow fever.
After we started seeing cases of yellow fever in 2017,we have done campaign in several states between January and February in Kwara, Kogi ,Zamfara and part of Niger states ”
Speaking further ,he noted that the sum of $16.8 million will be used for the next yellow fever campaign .
He said other donors like Gavi alliance has so far made provisions of 25 million doses, but the country will need more than the doses available .
Professor Adewole also called for the establishment of a WHO laboratory in Nigeria for speedy detection of yellow fever cases,as sometimes it takes days before taking the samples to Senegal ,and normally cause undue delay to the detection of the disease.
The Executive Secretary of the National Primary Healthcare Development Agency, Dr. Faisal Shuaib,
said the National primary health care development agency have been working with the NCDC to react to the outbreaks of yellow fever.
“We have had preventive vaccines in three states which include ,Kogi,kwara,Zamfara and part of Niger state ,as part of the seven year plan to provide adequate population immunity against yellow fever”,
“We are planning further preventive campaigns in November this year ,and we will ensure the efficient conduct of the vaccination exercise ”