NEW YELLOW FEVER CARD FROM 1ST OCTOBER 2013; “Holds Several Security Features”, - Nigerian Health Minister Stated.

Posted by Olaniyi Abodedele on Tuesday, January 28, 2014 Under: News Stories

The Minister of Health, Prof. Onyebuchi Chukwu, has said that the issuance of the yellow fever vaccination card will be centralised from Oct. 1. He made this known at a dinner in Johannesburg organized by the Consul-General of Nigeria Consulate in South Africa. The minister said that only people vaccinated by health officials will be issued new yellow fever card which would be printed solely by the federal ministry of health.

“Nigeria is one of the 44 countries that are prone to the spread of yellow fever, with some of the countries around us having reported cases of outbreak of the fever. Yellow fever does not exist in Nigeria, the last incident of yellow fever was recorded in Jos in 1995, but `countries such as Cameroon and Ghana still have reported cases of yellow fever outbreak. With some of our neighbouring countries having it, even as Nigeria is not endemic but also has the vector of yellow fever, so we remain at risk’’ Chukwu said.

Chukwu said it is important for Nigerians travelling to other countries that have the vector to ensure that they are vaccinated before travelling to such countries.  
“The reason why the U.S. and U.K did not require vaccination is because no vector exists in that country. But when going to countries that are no longer endemic but still have the vector such as South Africa they expect that you must be vaccinated,’’

He said there is no sense on the one in a life time vaccination.
``The regulation that we have in place today requires that every ten years there must be vaccination,’’ Chukwu said. According to the minister, the ministry of health and that of foreign affairs are working together to resolve the issue of yellow fever vaccination.
``We are working with the ministry of foreign affairs to solve the problem, but the truth is that you need yellow fever vaccination to enter South Africa, they have every right to demand for it,’’ Chukwu said.

He said the ministry is going back to centralizing the issuance of the card due to the abuse noticed from the current procedure which allows other health agencies to issue the card with attendant abuses.

``It was the former health minister, Prof. Olikoye Ransome-Kuti that decentralised the issuance of the card.

`` Because of his hope to make thing faster, he felt that rather than have the card centralized and produced by the federal ministry of health alone, state ministry of health and private health institutions should be allowed to produce the card in the believe that people will be honest enough to have their vaccination and collect their yellow fever card.

``But I have now reversed the whole thing, given the present circumstance that we now find ourselves, we are going to centralise it again.

``And we are not regretting the decision, we have work out the mechanism to ensure that the fear expressed by Prof. Ransome-Kuti will no longer materialise,’’ Chukwu said.
He urged people to go for the new card that will be in use with effect from Oct. 1.

``By Oct. 1, if you still have the old vaccination card you will have problem because we have told the whole world that they should not accept or recognise the old one from Oct. 1.

``If you are going to get your card from Nigeria you have to make sure you have the new one which has several security features.

``Federal ministry of health will produce the card and the National Primary Health Care will be responsible for the issuance of the card after vaccination, each dose of vaccine will be given one card, so there is separation of powers now.

``Federal ministry of health prints the card, National primary health care issues the card, if you get vaccinated you get the card, if you are not vaccinated you don’t get the card.

``The minister commended Nigerians living in South Africa, saying the ``federal government is proud of you and the remittance that you send home from your earnings is important for the growth of our economy,’’ Chukwu said.

``Nigeria like other countries has her challenges, we need our critical mind to help us contribute the expertise we have acquire from abroad to develop our country, that is what we call brain gain,’’ Chukwu said.

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