Gov. Ugwuanyi calls for up-scaling COVID-19 vaccination in S/East




Enugu State Governor Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi

Gov. Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi of Enugu State has urged South-East governors and health authorities to put more efforts in up-scaling the current rate of daily vaccination against the dreaded COVID-19 pandemic.

Ugwuanyi, who was represented by his Deputy, Mrs Cecilia Ezeilo, made the appeal while declaring open the South-East Zone Primary Health Care and COVID-19 Vaccination Review Meeting, held in Enugu, on Wednesday.

The governor admitted that the recent statistics of daily and total aggregate COVID-19 vaccinated figures from the zone remained low compared with other zones in the country.

“We are assuring the National Primary Health Care Development Agency (NPHCDA), after this review meeting, that we are going to work harder as a zone to up-scale our efforts.

“We will adopt the appeal of Sen. Chukwuka Utazi, on the need for our people to renew their vigour for COVID-19 mass vaccination intake in the South-East,” he said.

According to him, I will want various executive secretaries of South-East states’ Primary Health Care Development Agency to further get close to rural areas, interact with town unions, traditional rulers and other leaders to see how best to up-scale COVID-19 vaccinations.

Earlier, Utazi, who is the Senate Committee Chairman for Primary Health Care, said that the meeting was important to the South-East in order to resolve issues of hesitancy, low awareness and outright rejection of the ongoing COVID-19 mass vaccination.

Utazi, who spoke in Igbo language, urged residents of the South-East to have a re-think on their acceptance of COVID-19 vaccination, adding that they should jettison all forms of unfound rumours about the vaccination.

”We must have a re-think and speed up the COVID-19 vaccination rate; our people are highly educated and knowledgeable on global issues, especially the positive benefits of the COVID-19 mass vaccination.

“We are business people in the zone and we need to be healthy to do our businesses well, which brings us to the need to ensure that COVID-19 pandemic is dealt with in the zone.

“The states in the South-East should wake up and we should take our rightful place in this national exercise and be among the most ranked states in COVID-19 administration,” Utazi, who is also the senator representing Enugu North Senatorial Zone, said.

He lauded the NPHCDA for its commitment and dedication to see that the country succeeded in COVID-19 mass vaccination, as well as other special and routine vaccinations across the federation.

The Executive Director of NPHCDA, Dr Faisal Shuaib, urged the South-East governments and health authorities to do more in terms of awareness and enlightenment to debunk all known or emerging unfounded information against COVID-19 vaccination.

Shuaib noted that the zone should do more and better, given the high literacy level within the zone.

In this review meeting, we must put heads together, find out as well as resolve why the COVID-19 mass vaccination is not moving with expected rate and speed in the zone, he said.

“Nationally, we must use the same zeal and ingenuity that led us to eradicate polio and to ensure that every single person in the country gets vaccinated and all citizens get protected.

“For the South-East, we must adopt practices that will work in the zone and ensure that rejection and hesitancy are totally eliminated for the exercise to be embraced by all.

“I believe that the meeting would enable us all in the zone to take determined steps to chart the way forward,” he said.

Shuaib also suggested that South-East states should set-up a high powered committee at the governor’s level that would comprise the governor or his deputy, commissioner of health, executive secretary of state PHCDA and other critical stakeholders.

The executive director said: “They should hold weekly or more regular meetings on the daily COVID-19 vaccination, mandate council chairmen to meet up their daily targets and reward hard working council chairmen with recognitions and awards to spur them to do more.

“The state should support COVID-19 mass vaccinators with daily monetary incentive to motivate them to do more; be more resilient in convincing residents and upping their daily vaccination jabs given to residents”, Shuaib added.

Speaking, the Chairman of the Forum of Health Commissioners in the South-East, Dr Vincent Okpara, said that the meeting was timely as the Primary Health Care remained the gateway in the health system meant to achieve national health targets.

“I sincerely believe that the meeting will come out with harmonized and workable strategies to overcome the current challenges being faced that had led to the low COVID-19 mass vaccination level in the South-East,” Okpara said. (NAN)

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