The role of nurse in the provision of quality, effective and sale immunization service is of paramount importance in the sustainability of the programme. The nurses are involved in planning and arranging for immunization session so that the client will attend for the first dose and also return for subsequent doses. According to Basic guild (2004) the role of the nurses include thus.
- Scheduling: Immunization services should be scheduled so that people can attend and utilize the opportunity more especially the target population (0-2 years) if the target are not reach or too many clients are attending, the nurse in collaboration with others involved may need to change the days, time or frequency of the session. The nurse calculates the number of session per week or month for the programme as prescribed in guideline, for instance, in ESBUTH Abakaliki immunization activities are scheduled for every Tuesday of the week.
- Monitoring the Immunization Coverage and Dropout: this is the process of continuous observation and collection of data on immunization programmes. The national is to ensure that the programme is progressing as planned. It involves routine analysis presentation and decision-making. Through monitoring the nurse can assess how well the programme is going and what improvements need to be made.
- Health Education/Outreach Immunization Session: Outreach immunization sessions are held in a location other than a health facility from where the nurse can reach out and return the same day during the session. The people or the public are health educated on the importance of immunization, this is to enable them prepare for the exercise.
- Maintenance of Cold Chain: one of the major problems that threaten the national programme on immunization is the lack of proper storage of vaccine at all levels. It is the responsibility of the nurse to ensure that vaccines are kept at recommended temperature so as to remain potent for a long term. The cold chain is a system for distributing vaccine in a potent state from the manufacturers to the actual vaccinating sites. It is a logistic system involving equipment and persons designed to preserve, transport, distribute and store vaccine in a potent state right from the manufacturer until it is finally administrated to the target group. The nurse must maintain the potency of the vaccine for effectiveness and good outcome.
- Communication: this is the act of delivering message that can be understood. Nurses should not only give messages to the parents but also receive feedback from them. The nurse should endeavour to make the communication to be educative and interactive so as to achieve the principles of communication. Nurses are meant to spread information about immunizable diseases and immunization schedule per session to ensure that people are aware and avail themselves for the services.
- Evaluation: the nurses are involved in assessing and evaluating the outcomes of immunization service as well as suggesting and making possible amendments and corrections in the subsequent planning and scheduling.
SUMMARY National programme on immunization (NPI) is a tool that aids or supports the immunization activities in Nigeria. The programme was formerly known as the expanded programme on immunization but was letter rename as the national programme on immunization (NPI) in 1996. It aims at reducing drastically the number of death among children from vaccine preventable diseases (VPDS). Currently it is now known as expanded programme on immunization (EPI).
RECOMMENDATION ON IMMUNIZATION
Based on the ongoing, the following are recommended.
- National programme on immunization should improve in its effort in providing a medium for creating awareness to the public on the importance of immunization, the benefits and dangers of not immunizing their children.
- The NPI should also emphasize more on adequate training and re-training of those of immunization activities
- Health workers should use every opportunity o immunize eligible children.
- The NPI should improve in its effort in organizing a seminar and workshop for all those involved in the programme.
- There should be a provision for outreach programme in order to provide the services to those in the rural area and the unreachable areas.
National programme on immunization (NPI) has targeted several diseases for prevention, control and eradication through immunization. Within Nigeria, focus is on strategies to control, eliminate and eradicate particular vaccine-preventable diseases. In particular, special attention is on achieving the global of stopping polio virus transmission, together with the control of measles death.
National programme on immunization remains the most effective tool to reducing childhood morbidity and mortality occurring from vaccine preventable diseases (VPDS) such as tuberculosis, poliomyelitis, Diptheria, Whooping cough, measles, tetanus, Neonated tetanus, yellow fever, hepatitis B and cerebrospinal meningitis.
While the impact of national programme on immunization on the reduction of childhood mortality in Nigeria has been remarkable, it is yet to reach its full potential. It is therefore our belief that NPI, a simple and easy to understand tool, will assist the health workers at all operational levels to deliver adequate immunization service to our children.