World Vision U.S., an international NGO, has charged the people of Langkaku, Jos South Local Government Area (LGA) of Plateau, to embrace immunisation and curb infant morbidity and mortality. The organisation made the appeal in an interview with newsmen on Thursday when the team of RAISE 4 SAHEL (R4S), Zero-Dose Immunisation (ZIP) (R4S ZIP) Project members visited Langkaku, a hard-to-reach community with a lack of social amenities.
World Vision United States is a member and founding organisation of World Vision International. Founded in the United States in 1950, it is an evangelical relief and development organization. It is one of the largest relief and development organizations in the US with a 1.6 billion dollar budget.
According to reports, the R4S ZIP Project is sponsored by Gavi. The Vaccine Alliance to reduce the burden of Zero-dose and Under-Immunised Children (ZIC), in fragile and conflict-affected communities that are beyond the government’s reach. The project is being implemented by a consortium of African Christian Health Associations Platform (ACHAP), and other partners in seven countries of Sahel Africa.
The Christian Health Association of Nigeria (CHAN), leads the implementation in Borno, Sokoto, Plateau and Kaduna states, and four LGAs in Plateau namely; Kanam, Wase, Shendam, and Quan’pan. Dr Paz Enrique, Chief of the Party of the Project, who explained that the visit was to assess the needs of the community, urged the people to welcome the intervention as it was at no cost to them, and it would secure the health and future of their children.
“We are here on what we call micro-planning, which means prioritising our needs as we answer pertinent questions such as: Where are the children? Who are the community leaders? Where are the mothers? And how can we communicate with the mothers and the fathers? The fathers, please engage your children with your families, bring them to the health centre, and you can help us identify who the children are. Do they need water? Do they need nutrition? I know that there is a lack of jobs, there is poverty in the community, but if we can organise properly, we can mitigate these problems. At least we can have healthy children since vaccines are free,” Enrique said.
He said members of the team had held talks with Gov. Caleb Mutfwang, on Wednesday, where he charged them to ensure that the children were fully immunised to give them a chance at a brighter future.
Similarly Dr Mercy Ahun, Ag. Technical Director R4S ZIP Project, said in spite of the obvious challenges of the community, the group would surmount those obstacles and ensure the community had access to adequate healthcare for the children.
“We are here because this programme is reaching out to children who have never had immunisation, or children under five years of age. The aim is to protect them against killer diseases such as Malaria and Pneumonia, though our primary focus is on children in conflict and vulnerable settings. So Langkaku, is one of such communities that we are working with, and you can see that it was difficult reaching the area, it shows the people no doubt have difficulties accessing immunisation services. So our plan is to engage with the community, find out their barriers to accessing immunisation services,” Abun said.
According to her, the organisation will explore ways of partnering with the community to find solutions to their challenges and then offer services which are convenient for them, and which can protect them and save the lives of their children.
On his part, Dr Muknaan Nshe, The Technical Lead for the project, said the aim was to reach those places that the government might not be able to reach in delivering healthcare services to children.
“We acknowledge that government has a challenge, in terms of coverage, and we want to complement them by expanding reach to areas that they may not have been reaching adequately for vaccination and healthcare delivery. This trip to Langkaku is to bring our partners, to see what it looks like coming to such communities, and we are positive that this will bring every reduction in the zero-dose burden in Nigeria,” Nshe said.