Less Than 10% Children In Sokoto Vaccinated Against Killer Diseases – Centre For Disease Control

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Minister of Health, Professor Isaac Adewole

By:  MATTHEW  UKACHUNWA,  Lagos

Less than 10 per cent of children in Sokoto State have been vaccinated against childhood diseases, despite the role said to be played by traditional rulers to promote the programme.

Dr. Chikwe Ihekweazu, National Coordinator and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) said this at a one-day training workshop organized by NCDC for health editors in Lagos.

“Less than 10 per cent of children in Sokoto have received their childhood vaccination.  Meanwhile, we have been shouting that traditional rulers in the north are champions of vaccination,” Ihekweazu stressed.  

He also expressed concern over microbial resistance to drugs and abuse of antibiotics in Nigeria.

The NCDC leader condemned the way and manner antibiotics are sold in Nigeria.  “This is the only country where you can go to an open market and you buy antibiotics in  the same way you buy pepper and groundnut.  It doesn’t happen anywhere, not even in Africa.  In Ghana you can’t buy antibiotics the way you buy them here,” the NCDC CEO narrated.

He said that a lot of antibiotics are not going to work because people use them wrongly for everything.   

He urged health journalists to always have stories that they are working on.  And in doing so, he advised them to take more time to carry out investigation, do research, know what government agencies are doing, engage sources in interviews and correct misconceptions about disease outbreaks and epidemics.
He also encouraged journalists to have a deep understanding of the subject matters they are working on.

“We have responsibility to engage, which is why we are doing this today,” Ihekweazu explained.  “I need your voices to provide the agenda to meet the need of the people.”


The media training for editors, NCDC pointed out, became necessary because of the need to build capacity of the media to report and raise awareness on Cerebra-spinal Meningitis (CSM)and other epidemic prone diseases, namely:  Lassa fever, Cholera, Yellow fever and Measles.

On the occasion, Dr. Olaolu Aderinola, Assistant Director, Health Emergency Preparedness and Response of NCDC delivered the lead lecture titled:  “Clinical And Medical Information On CSM, Lassa Fever, Cholera, Yellow Fever, Measles.”

Other topics treated at the workshop include:  “Risk Communication” by Olufemi Ayoola; “Curbing Epidemics Through Advocacy by Dr Ejike Oji; and “Dealing With Headlines To Avoid Panic And Confusion” by Mr. Olusegun  Aribike, a former Editor of News Agency of Nigeria (NAN).

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