The report Adolescent Girls in Crisis: Voices from the Lake Chad Basin, which surveyed girls in Nigeria, Cameroon and Niger, found adolescent girls and community members outlined “adolescent girls engaging in relationships and swapping sex for food, money and other items.”

Community Health and Research Initiative has called on Nigeria’s health minister Isaac Adewole to ensure girls in hard-to-reach areas are not left behind and have access to important vaccines.

Among them are Tetanus, Rubella and the Human Papiloma Virus (HPV) Vaccine, which offers protection against 70% of incidences of Cervical Cancer, which claims the lives of an estimated 266,000 women and girls a year.

It comes as the world marks the International Day of the Girl Child.

CHR is joining other organizations in over ten countries in Africa in launching the 33 Days to Power Up Immunization Campaign.

The campaign seeks to hold governments accountable for the multiple promises they have made to support Immunization, explained chair of CHR’s board of trustees Aminu Garba.

In 2016, the continent marked significant achievements of interrupting the near elimination of Meningococcal Meningitis A epidemic and the significant reduction in disease burden and child mortality due to measles.

On 23% of children under age two are fully vaccinated, according to the Multi Indicator Coverage Survey/National Immunization Coverage Survey (MICS/NICS) report 2016 conducted in Nigeria.

Another 37% are only partially vaccinated. Some of the states in Northern Nigeria have reported below 20% immunization coverage.

“We recognize the efforts that have gone into reaching the current levels by the Nigerian government, however, much more needs to be done if we are to reach the 2020 goals that our government has set in the Global Vaccine Action Plan (GVAP) of reaching 90% immunization coverage nationally and 80% in every state by 2020,” Garba said in a statement.

“We call on the Nigerian government to prioritize increase in the national and states budget to finance immunization and ensure timely and efficient releases of immunization funds.”