Lagos - Two health experts on Tuesday advised parents to immunise their children and wards regularly against preventable diseases to help reduce the rate of infant mortality in the country.
The experts gave the advice in separate interviews with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) ahead of the 2015 World Immunisation Week.
The World Health Organisation (WHO) says: "The World Immunisation Week will be held from April 24 to 30.
"It will signal a renewed global, regional and national effort to accelerate action to increase awareness and demand for immunisation by communities, and improve vaccination delivery services.
"This year’s campaign focuses on closing the immunisation gap and reaching equity in immunisation levels as outlined in the Global Vaccine Action Plan (GVAP).
"The GVAP is a framework to prevent millions of deaths by 2020 through universal access to vaccines for people in all communities,’’ it said.
Dr Patrick Uduje, a Physician at Graceland Hospital, Lagos, said: "Studies show that vaccine preventable diseases are a major contributor to child morbidity and mortality especially in the Sub-Saharan Africa and Nigeria in particular.
"The WHO’s statistics reveal that annually, vaccines prevent more than 2.5 million child deaths globally especially from deaths which could have been prevented through immunisation.
"These vaccine preventable diseases account for 17 per cent of global total under-five mortality per year and 22 per cent of child mortality in Nigeria.
"This means that the appropriate deployment of relevant vaccines would significantly reduce mortality and that is why we appeal to parents to immunise their children and wards.’’
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Uduje said that immunisation was important as it saved the lives of children, helped protect against certain diseases, as well as strengthened the body’s immunity to fight diseases.
"Immunisation also protects the health of our community, especially those people who are not immunised, such as in the cases of polio, measles, whooping cough and others.
"These vaccines are safe, asides from some slight discomforts and pains. Some of them are even painless.
"It is essential that people, especially children are immunised as some of these diseases are deadly. For instance, polio is a highly infectious viral disease that can cause irreversible paralysis.
"Measles is highly contagious and usually results in a high fever, and sometimes, can cause blindness or even death", he said.