Ethics approval and consent to participate: Permission for the study was obtained from Ondo State Health Research Ethics Committee in retrospect. This is the government body in charge of all health related studies. A copy of the approval is attached as ‘related files’. Initially, ethical approval was considered not necessary (as the study merely leverage on a ‘national mass covid19 immunization campaign’ directed by the federal republic of Nigeria) when the study was conducted until it was demanded by BMC journal as a requirement for publication. All the data garnered and analyzed in the study were anonymous as they were mere figures or absolute numbers of persons involved and not names of the real persons. No permission was required from any quarters for the authors to access the raw data as they were ordinarily carrying out the duties assigned to them by WHO and or the state/national government beginning march 19th 2021. (afro.who.int/news/Nigeria) and ended July 13 2021 (guardian.ng/news/covid-19-fg-officially-ends-first-phase-of-vaccination-nphcda/)
Consent for publication: Not applicable.
Availability of data and materials: Public access to all database used in the research is ‘open source’. I solemnly state that all data accompanying and cited in the study are readily/freely available (upon any request) at the World Health Organization (W.H.O) office in Akure, Ondo State PHCDA, DHIS2 server (https://dhis2nigeria.org.ng) and are also presented by the corresponding author in the main manuscript as additional supporting files labeled Tables or Figures.
Competing interests: None. All authors involved in the study declare that they do not have any competing interests.
Funding: Practically no funds were received from any quarters for the execution of the study. The study merely leverage on a national activity conducted by the WHO to collect and interpret relevant epidemiological data.
Authors’ contributions: The principal author (Mahmud Zubairu) contributed majority of the research work including the little funds expended. The remaining 5 are co-authors. Specifically;
- A.F assisted in the field supervision of records search & ensured factual recording of information (study data from the health facilities) by establishing a strong monitoring and supervision mechanism. He wrote the methodology section of the research.
- G.F conducted the training of the study participants. He collated all data from the study health facilities and provided the relevance of the study. He wrote the recommendation part.
- O.A scanned the entire draft manuscript. He did the section on the conclusions drawn from the study.
- M.M provided some explanation as to the significance of RTIs increase observed in the study. He tested the hypothesis.
- K.T did the section on geo-spatial mapping of the study area and ‘combed’ the entire manuscript grammatically.
- I.O was in charge of data collection and collation. She performed detailed quality check on all data to ensure they are properly ‘cleaned’ and fit for use.
Acknowledgement: Firstly, all glory is to God – the Lord of all the ‘worlds’. We thank Him for giving us good health to conclude the study within a relatively short period of time, one month! It was really a very big challenge considering the ongoing mass COVID_19 vaccination campaign at the time and the fear that, the principal researcher’s contract with the W.H.O would expire before the conclusion of the study. Many of the study participants were also engaged in the COVID_19 mass vaccination exercise and so, there wasn’t enough time for anything. Luckily, all worked tirelessly; the research was concluded as scheduled & the principal researcher’s contract was also renewed. Therefore, we thank God for that.
We thank also Dr. Terna Nomhwange, the COVID_19 STA coordinator, W.H.O – Nigeria and by extension Dr. Kazadi Mulombo (W.R, W.H.O - Nigeria) for finding us worthy for deployment to Ondo state as part of the W.H.O COVID_19 response team. Dr. Terna Nomhwange particularly has been encouraging staff to write scientific papers at any opportunity.
Doctors Rosemary Onyibe, Geoffery Namara and Rex Npazanje together with Prof Bola Olayinka, all of the W.H.O contributed immensely by sharing COVID related literature materials during the regular weekly TC meetings held with all COVID_19 STAs. This enriched our knowledge so much. Thank you.
Three very intelligent persons namely Itse Olaoye, Dupe Dosumu and Adewale Adejugba ensured the success of this study. They are W.H.O consultants in the same office with the principal researcher. All data used for the analysis could not have been obtained but for their field presence. We particularly appreciate the role of Itse Olaoye for painstakingly reviewing the study protocol and conducting detailed quality checks on all collected data.
Finally, many thanks go to Mrs. Sheyifunmi Falana - the disease surveillance and notification officer (DSNO) of the study LGA. It is rare to find a DSNO so full of energy and passion to work like her. She ensured that all planned health facilities were routinely supervised which led to the research concluded in record time!
7th July, 2021
Author(s) information: The dual of M.Z & A.F are W.H.O consultants with vast experiences in public health. Aside from being members of the COVID respond team that is directly in-charge in Ondo State, the study area; they are all Nigerian nationals that understand the current realities in the country. M.Z in particular is a researcher at a local university in Nigeria (the Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria) and successfully submitted a research paper to the BMC infectious disease journal last year concerning a ‘classical’ study on increasing immunization coverage using GIS innovations. A.F taught M.Z nearly one and half decades ago during an MPH program (Field Epidemiology) at the University of Ibadan – Nigeria’s premier university.
- O.A is a onetime coordinator of the EU-SIGN, a project that specializes in the delivery of quality routine immunization services in Northern Nigeria. He is a public health expert that has written so many publications on COVID_19.
- G.F is the state disease surveillance and notification officer (DSNO) for Ondo State. He is an epidemiologist per excellence. He’s got nearly one and half decades experience on the job.
- M.M is the Director of immunization at the national primary health care development agency (NPHCDA), Abuja, Nigeria. He is not only a renowned public health physician but a clinician with very robust clinical experience. He practiced clinical medicine for over 3 decades before joining the public sector.
- K.T is with the W.H.O at the regional office in Brazzaville, republic of the Congo. He is an expert deep knowledge of the local terrain in Nigeria. He sojourned in Nigeria before and participated in the production of G.I.S drawn maps to support Polio vaccination activities in northern part of the country.
- I.O is a public health expert with the W.H.O field office in Akure, Nigeria. She supports the polio program as a cluster consultant and is presently at ST. Mary’s University U.K as a Ph.D student