Dr Awele Elumelu: Vaccines are safe,accessible and free

For every dollar spent on childhood immunisation, Nigeria would be able to save as much as $16 with a return on investment of up to $44, Awele Elumelu who is the private Sector Champion for Immunization in Africa by Gavi said on Thursday, 25th April 2019 as she tasked stakeholders in the public and private sector on better health care delivery to citizens. Speaking at an event in Abuja to commemorate the World and Africa Immunisation week Elumelu, immunisation is one of the greatest and most cost-effective investments that can be made to protect, safeguard the future of children and give them a chance to live healthy, productive lives. “On the national scale, immunisation yields healthy dividends for countries. Research shows that every dollar spent on childhood immunisation will save $16 in healthcare costs, lost wages and lost productivity while providing a return on investment of as much as $44 “The fact is, immunisation is one of the greatest and most cost-effective investments that we can make to protect our children, safeguard their futures and give them a chance to live healthy, productive lives,” She noted that the African vaccination week, themed ” protect together : Vaccines Work” would not only provide an opportunity to celebrate gains of immunisation but to also empower for the work that lies ahead. “As we mark Africa Vaccination Week, I am here to remind you that vaccines are safe, they are accessible and they are free. And you should trust me – I ensured that all 7 of my kids are vaccinated. “The efforts to achieve widespread immunisation coverage cannot happen without the effective collaboration of the public and private sectors. This is why partnerships with public health organisations such as the NPHCDA matter.

Dr Elumelu who is particularly passionate about and advocates extensively for the rights of Africans, women and children, also called on the federal government, private and public sector player to lead the charge to deliver economic opportunity, social good, and greater health and opportunity to Nigerians and Africans at large. “I want to commend GAVI because since inception in 2000 , GAVI have been able to immunise just over 300milliom in Nigeria and preventing about 10million death. We still still have up to about over 4million immunised children so there is still a lot to be done. “Here in Nigeria I commend the federal government for What they have done with regards to GAVI because the federal government have matched there pledge of 1.9million dollars and I am sure with the new government in place they would continue their efforts in universal health care coverage,” said Elumelu The Executive director, National Primary Healthcare Development Agency, Faisal Shuaib earlier in his address explained that based on available statistics and selfless commitment of vaccine heroes, a total number of 116.2million children were vaccinated and saved from vaccine preventable disease all over the world in 2017, adding that Nigeria also recorded an unprecedented improvement in immunisation coverage. “We have achieved improvements in routine immunization coverage rate from 48 per cent in 2015 to 57 per cent in 2018 as revealed by the recent SMART survey conducted by the national bureau of statistics On 18 low performing States on immunisation in Nigeria, Suaib said some strategic initiatives such as National Routine Immunisation Coordination Centre NERICC and Optimised Integrated Immunisation Sessions OIRIS has been put in place for better performance. He further said as a way of communicating the 2019 AIW, the NPHCDA in collaboration with state and local governments, development partners have concluded arrangement for mass vaccination of children I’m all parts of the country throughout the period of the 2019 African Vaccination Week (AVW) He appealed to all parents, guardians and caregivers to avail themselves of the unique opportunity to the 2019 African Vaccination Week to make their children and wards available for immunisation. Dr. Awele Elumelu is a leading voice in African healthcare. As the Chairperson of Avon Healthcare Limited, Nigeria’s leading health insurance provider, and the Founder/CEO of Avon Medical Practice, a growing network of full-service clinics and onsite facilities with corporate institutions, she is focused on expanding and improving access to quality healthcare in Nigeria, Africa’s most populous nation. Having identified poor health infrastructure, absence of medical equipment and poor healthcare coverage as some of the challenges facing healthcare delivery in Nigeria, she established the two organisations to provide affordable medical insurance and services to Nigerians from all walks of life. This is helping to improve access to adequate and effective healthcare services in Nigeria. In January 2018, Dr Elumelu was appointed as Private Sector Champion for Immunization in Africa by Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance. In this role, she leverages her knowledge, corporate networks, and expertise from the healthcare and business sectors to champion vaccination and immunisation in Africa, where almost 10 million children are yet to be fully immunised.

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