By: ALEX UANGBAOJE, Kaduna
Rukayyah Mohammad, a Mother of three, who lives at Unguwar Abuja in Agaji Ward of Lere Local Government Area of Kaduna State, has called on mothers and caregivers to take advantage of the ongoing Polio Immunization in the state in order to help their children live a healthy life.
Rukayyah, who spoke with a team of media monitor on Monday said because the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), has assured women in her community that polio vaccines are not harmful and can drive away diseases like measles, fever, polio virus among others which are dangerous for children before the age of five years, she don’t joke with immunization against all forms of diseases.
The mother who brought her seven months son, Mohammed Salim for immunization, stated that, “my advice to my fellow mothers is to always allow their kids to be immunized because the vaccines are not harmful to the children”
According to her, all her children were immunized when they were born because she wanted a good life for them.
Rukayyah said she and her kids leaves in a community where some parents don’t like immunizing their children, adding, “i realized that since i started immunizing my children they hardly fall sick and if they do it was not severe. Other children whose parents refused them immunization easily fall sick some even lost their lives.”
Fatimatu Ahmad, another mother of 6, at the same community of Unguwar Abuja said she brought her six months daughter Maryam, for immunization because she knew the importance to her health.
Fatimatu noted that she ensured that none of her six children missed immunization until some of them grew older than the age.
“When I gave birth, I make sure they are immunized because i knew it’s not harmful to their lives. In fact, it protects them from diseases. There are diseases like polio, fever, measles and other killer diseases that the vaccination and immunization protect the children from.
“Failure to immunize children can place their lives in danger as some of them die before the age of five. As a mother I will encourage my fellow mothers to take this immunization exercise very serious by ensuring that their children are immunized. She said.
Another mother of five, Mariam Muhammad, accused parents who don’t take their children for immunization of jeopardising their health because the vaccine is a protector and not a destroyer, saying, ” immunizing children is very important.”
“Immunization protects children from diseases and not dangerous to their lives. Parents must pay attention to its importance to their childre health rether than denying the children the chance to live a good and healthy lives.”
Alfa Alhussain Muhammad, UNICEF Communication for Development (C4D)/Polio Lere Local Government Area, Facilitator noted that his expectation is to see that a total of 145,827 children under the age of 5 years who are eligible children in the LGA are immunized by the end of the exercise, as issues of non compliance was already dealt with before the commencement of the programme.
“We engage religious leaders during campaigns also to enable us resolve those issues of non acceptance of immunization that are due to religious reasons.
“We begin communication activities 3 weeks before the start of polio immunization campaigns. And we engaged communities where we get non compliance through dialogues with community members so as to listen to their concern and also address them.
“We also conduct community sensistization activities, H2H mobilization and compound meeting in settlements where is have VCMs i.e Volunteer Community Mobilizers.
“When it get to a week before immunization campaigns we distribute letters to Church, Mosques and School to notify on upcoming immunization campaigns and also solicit their cooperation before the implementation of the campaigns
“We also conduct training for the vaccination team members on interpersonal communication skills to enable them engage with caregivers effectively.” Alpha, added.