The mortality rates of childhood disease before the advent of the national programme on immunization The mortality rates are the annual number of deaths in the first year divided by the number of live births in a year. It is measured per 1000. The mortality rates of the vaccine preventable diseases were at its peak before the advent of the national programme on immunization in the year 1996. According to the 2007 edition of the state of the world’s children, ranked Nigeria as the country with the 14th lowest child survival rate in the world. It is observed that since independence in 1960, the Nigerian government has maintained very low average annual rate (0.3%) of the less than 5 mortality reduction. The Nigerian government has only succeeded in reducing childhood mortality rate by 5.3% in 35 years from 207 deaths per 1000live births in 1960 to 194 deaths per 1000 live births in 1995 a value that is approximately three (3) times less than the global target of reduction for the year 2000.
A baby born in Nigeria is about 30 times more at risk of death before the age of five (5) than a baby born in industrialized countries (Olumide, 2005). The mortality in children is primarily due to preventable infectious diseases such as measles. Poliomyelitis, whooping cough (pertussis), diphtheria, tetanus and tuberculosis. Analysis of diseases trend shows that apart from tuberculosis and acute poliomyelitis, there has been no clear reduction in the mortality rates from the vaccines preventable diseases since independence.
However, the NPI since inception in 1996 has been able to cut down the mortality by administering several thousand vaccine doses to children who probably would not have otherwise been reached. The national programme on immunization has been expanded even further to include cerebrospinal meningitis. The national programme on immunization final success will still be measured by how much it has been able to reduce mortality rates.
The roles of national programme on immunization in the reduction of childhood mortality
The role of the national programme on immunization in the reduction of childhood mortality rate since its inception in 1996 cannot be over emphasized.Yetunde (2005) stipulated that the NPI has played the role of reducing childhood mortality rate from 207 deaths per 1000 live births since 1960 to 194 death per 1000 live births in 2005. According to Obionu (2007) the following roles have been played and demonstrated by the national programme on immunization. Which has aid in reducing childhood mortality rates?
- National programme on immunization has played the role of fostering intersectional co-operation and community involvement and participation in its activities at all levels and thus enhance the ability of the programme to sustain itself effectively and efficiently.
- It established an efficient system of surveillance and programme monitoring activities to ensure reliable systematic procurement of vaccine
- It has also played the role of implementing the activities of immunization services and setting out principles that guides every aspect of the programme.
- National programme on immunization has co-ordinated all the activities of those involved in planning and running of immunization service both governmental and nongovernmental agencies involved in the rendering of immunization services.
- It has also contributed immensely in ensuring that there are adequate and efficient evaluating systems of immunization services.
- National programme on immunization has also ensures that there is constant and continuous supply of immunization equipment and vaccines.
- It also contributed in the training at those involve in the administration vaccines to the target group. Thus far with all the roles played we can say that the Nigerian national programme on immunization has contributed in the reduction of childhood mortality to a certain degree.
Vaccines are usually given at multiple intervals because the immune system needs several reminders, to boost immunity scientific vaccines are available of the following infections: Diphtheria: Is a bacterial infection acquired through inhalation of infected particles. It causes a severe sore throat and possible heart and nerve damage.
Pertussis: A bacterial infection acquired through inhalation of the infected, particles. It cause severe, life threatening coughing spoils (Whooping Cough) and possible, seizures and brain damage; the bacterial usually live in the air ways of adults with no or minimal cough.
Tetanus: is abacterial infection acquired through dirty wound infection, tetanus cause severe and painful muscle contractions, the bacteria are abundant in soil.
Polio: Is a viral infection involving the mouth and throat, and later the blood and spinal cord, causing muscle paralysis, usually one sided.
Measles: is a viral infection acquired through breathing infected particles, it cause rash, cough, pneumonia, diarrhea, and possible brain infection and bleeding.
Mumps: This is a viral infection acquired through breathing infected particles, it cause, painful swelling of the parotid gland, testes, and pancreas gland.
Hepatitis B: Hepatitis B is a viral infection of the liver, which is acquired through exposure to blood such as in blood transfusion, through sexual intercourse, and from a infected mother to her fetus.
Chicken pox: Is a viral infection acquired through inhalation of infected particles, it cause painful blistering and later crusty rash and fever, it's rare complication includes infection to the joints, kidneys, brain and also haemorrhage.
Tuberculosis: Is a bacteria infection contacted through inhalation of infected particles, affecting the lungs, characterized by coughing, weightless, breathlessness, lungs cavitations. Rubella (German measles) is a viral infection acquired through inhalation of infected particulars. It cause rash, fever, and enlarged lymph nodes. If a pregnant women becomes infected, the fetus could be severely and permanently damaged (Onwuka, 2005).
How does immunization work?
Immunization operates on the premise or bases that once you have had a disease, you are unlikely to contact it again, though infections, oral drops or scratches on the skin, the body, is exposed to weakened or dead disease producing microorganisms or the toxins produce.
This will cause the individual to develop the same antibody and antitoxin that would have been developed if the person had actually contacted the disease, in order to fight the disease.
Once the body has been exposed to an infection, the immune system will recognize if the disease was to reoccur and produce antibodies or antitoxins to destroy the infection. The body has to be-exposed to infection once for the immune system to recognize it. This is done through immunization (Ogunlana 2007).