In parts of northern Nigeria, barely 10 percent of children receive all of their standard vaccines. PATH and partners are working to restore routine immunization where it is needed most.
Strengthening immunization programs in northern Nigeria
Northern Nigeria has one of the lowest rates of immunization coverage in the world. In many parts of the north, barely 10 percent of children receive all of their routine vaccines. Coverage rates for the vaccine against tetanus among women are equally low. Why?
A formerly strong primary health care system in northern Nigeria has weakened over many years. Polio outbreaks, rumors on the safety of the polio vaccine, and subsequent campaigns disrupted routine immunization services. Routine immunization services are either no longer available or irregular; limited resources for health services and gaps in vaccine storage and distribution add to the challenge of increasing immunization coverage.
As an associate partner in the Partnership for Reviving Routine Immunization in Northern Nigeria (PRRINN), PATH is working with Health Partners International, GRID Consulting, Save the Children UK, Johns Hopkins University, and government authorities in northern Nigeria to strengthen primary health care services and subsequently reach children across the region with safe and effective vaccines.
The partnership is working in four states in northern Nigeria—Jigawa, Katsina, Yobe, and Zamfara—that have some of the lowest levels of immunization coverage. PATH is providing technical assistance to the partnership in these areas:
- Strengthening vaccine storage, vaccine delivery, and waste management.
- Building health workers’ skills in vaccine management.
- Improving systems for delivering supplies to health centers and communities.
- Improving access to immunization for all populations in the region, including difficult-to-reach families living in remote areas.
This five-year effort will lay the groundwork for sustainable immunization services, help revitalize primary health care systems, and ultimately improve the health of children and their families.
Photo: PATH/Anne MacArthur.