Nigeria's River State Health Commissioner, Dr Parker, immunises Christabel Emmanuel with the pentavalent vaccine in Port Harcourt, Nigeria, on 7 June 2012. Source: Josepth Oteri/2012.
Port Harcourt, Nigeria, 7 June 2012 - Speeches, traditional dancing, and the blessings of traditional chiefs all marked the introduction on Thursday of the pentavalent vaccine in Nigeria, where political commitment is growing for life-saving immunisation.
Launched with support from the GAVI Alliance, the pentavalent vaccine protects against five deadly diseases and GAVI estimates that 72 GAVI-eligible countries will be using this life-saving vaccine by 2013 in their routine immunisation systems.
Nigeria is highly strategic for GAVI which aims to reach the final 20% of the world’s children who still do not have access to routine immunisation. Africa’s most populous country accounts for an estimated 1.7 million of the 19.3 million children who did not receive routine immunisation in 2010.
But Nigeria is showing increasing political commitment to this life-saving technology.
Next year, Nigeria is set to introduce pneumococcal vaccines, helping to protect against pneumonia, still the world’s biggest killer of children under the age of five.
When the pentavalent and pneumococcal vaccines are fully rolled out, Nigeria’s child mortality rate will drop by an estimated 17%, preventing some 30 000 child deaths every year.