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Press Release

Nov 24, 2009
Number of children fully immunised in Nigeria nearly doubles in five years, but more than one-quarter receive no immunisations

Abuja, Nigeria. Currently, 23% of children under five in Nigeria are fully immunised, an almost two-fold increase since 2003 when only 13% of children were fully immunised. The new data on child immunisation comes from the 2008 Nigeria Demographic and Health Survey (NDHS). The survey found, however, that 29% of children have not received any immunisations, a slight increase from 2003. Findings from the survey show decreases in childhood mortality and increases in ownership and use of insecticide-treated nets. There were few changes since 2003 in fertility, family planning use, and maternal health.

While almost a quarter of children under five have received all basic immunisations, immunisation coverage ranges dramatically by zone. Only 6% of children in the North West zone have received all basic immunisations, and nearly half of children in that zone have received no immunisations. The primary reasons that mothers report for not immunising their children are lack of information, fear of side effects, and the health post being too far away.

“The NDHS provides important information about the living conditions in Nigeria at the grassroots level,” says Sani Gar, Project Director for the 2008 NDHS. “This information will assist the government and other stakeholders in planning appropriate and targeted strategies and programs to improve the well-being of all Nigerians.

”Overall, 1 child out of 6 in Nigeria dies before reaching age five. Under-five mortality has decreased from 201 deaths per 1,000 live births in 2003 to 157 in 2008. Currently, 75 children per 1,000 live births die before their first birthday, which is a decrease from 100 five years ago. Under-five mortality ranges from 89 deaths per 1,000 live births in the South West zone to 222 in the North East zone.

The survey found increases in ownership and use of insecticide-treated nets (ITN) since 2003. Currently, 8% of households own an ITN, compared with only 2% of households in 2003. Six percent of children under five and 5% of pregnant women slept under an ITN the night before the survey, compared with 1% in 2003. However, ownership and use of ITNs in Nigeria still remains low when compared with other West African countries where ownership is as high as 60% as in Senegal.

The survey also found that women in Nigeria will have an average of 5.7 children in their lifetimes. Fertility ranges from 4.5 children per woman in the South West zone to 7.3 children in the North West zone. Fertility levels have not changed since the 2003 NDHS.

Only 15% of women in Nigeria currently use family planning; 10% use a modern method. Only 3% of women in the North West zone and 4% of women in the North East zone use a modern method of family planning, compared to 21% of women in the South West zone. Use of family planning has increased slightly since the 2003 NDHS when 8% of women used a modern method.

Maternal health indicators, such as antenatal and delivery care, have changed little in the past 5 years. Currently, 58% of women receive antenatal care from a doctor, nurse/midwife, or auxiliary nurse/midwife. Thirty-nine percent of births were assisted by a skilled provider, and 35% of births took place in a health facility. Almost 1 in 5 births were not assisted by anyone, and 62% of births occurred at home.

About the survey: The 2008 NDHS was implemented by the National Population Commission of Nigeria. ICF Macro, an ICF International Company, provided technical assistance in the design, implementation and analysis of the survey through the USAID–funded MEASURE DHS programme. Funding for the survey was provided by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and the President’s Emergency Fund for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR). Funding for the household listing and additional fieldwork support was provided by the United National Population Fund (UNFPA).