Shortage Of Megaphones Limits Measles Immunisation Coverage

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Minister of Health, Professor Isaac Adewole

By; MATTHEW  UKACHUNWA,  Lagos

Shortage of megaphones is limiting the scope of Measles Immunization coverage campaign in Lagos State, as the targeted 95 per cent coverage kicks off.

A total of 4,526 megaphones are needed, but only 518 are available at the local government levels for the Fixed Post and Temporary Post Strategy for Measles Immunization Coverage Campaign in the state, Owojuyigbe Mopdupe, State Health Educator in Lagos State disclosed.

She, therefore, appealed to local government chairmen to contribute in getting more megaphones.  “The provision of megaphones is where chairmen of local governments can help, Owojuyigbe emphasized.

The first phase of the  6-day Fixed Post and Temporary Post Measles Immunization Coverage Campaign – a new initiative to achieve the target Measles immunization coverage – begins on 15th to end on 22nd March, 2018.

The second phase of the immunization campaign will start from 22nd to 29th March, 2018.  Each phase will cover 10 local government areas of the state.

The health educator stated that children between nine months and five years are eligible for vaccination for the disease, and therefore, urged parents to present their children for the exercise.

Owojuyigbe unfolded these facts at a Media Orientation for Journalists in Lagos State held in Ikeja area of the state recently where she spoke on the topic:  “The Role of Journalists And The Key Messages” in the Measles Immunization coverage campaign.  The event was organized by Lagos State and federal governments in partnership with UNICEF and World Health Organization (WHO).

She said the state government adopted the new Measles immunization coverage campaign strategy because of the high figure of Nigeria’s global ranking in the number of unimmunized children.

The health educator pointed out that Nigeria has 3.3 million unimmunized children against the disease compared to India which is rated second with a total of 2.9 million.

“Nigeria is number one for most of unimmunized for Meassles Vaccine 1st dose (MCV 1),” she stressed, noting:  “In terms of global ranking of Measles vaccination, Nigeria is 192 of 200 countries.”

Owojuyigbe outlined the strategy for demand creation and communication for the campaign.  “The overall strategy is community-based, community-driven and community-owned,” she declared.

Also highlighted in the strategy for community message about Measles immunization coverage campaign to be impactful include advocacy, stakeholders engagement, community engagement (including house-to-house mobilization), compound meetings and  community forums.  Others are ‘edutainment’ events, capacity building, information and crisis management, monitoring, evaluation and supervision.

Expressing belief in the role of the news media towards achieving the goals of the campaign, Owojuyigbe told journalist:  “You are critical to the successful implementation of health programmes in general and the 2017/2018 Measles campaign in particular.  Bottom-line is you can use your positions and structures to support the campaign and prevent measles outbreaks and response to other childhood preventable diseases.”

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