By; RAYMOND TEDUNJAYE, Lagos
The 2018 Measles vaccination campaign for children between the age 9 months and 5 years will hold in Lagos State from Thursday 15th to Thursday 29th March, 2018, the State Government has said.
The Special Adviser to the Governor on Primary Health Care, Dr. Olufemi Onanuga who made this known today while briefing newsmen on the level of preparedness for the campaign noted that 3,609,538 children are being targeted during the vaccination campaign.
“The objective of the campaign is to immunize at least 95 percent of children aged 9 months to 5 years with measles vaccine in all local government areas regardless of their previous immunization status” he said.
Onanuga explained that the measles vaccination campaign will be implemented in two streams stressing that the first stream will hold in Alimosho, Agege, Ajeromi-Ifelodun, Amuwo-Odofin ,Epe, Ikorodu, Lagos Island, Lagos Mainland, Mushin and Ojo local government areas between 15th and 22ndMarch, 2018.
He added that the second stream will hold between Thursday 22nd and Thursday 29thMarch, 2018 in Apapa, Badagry, Eti-Osa, Ibeju-Lekki, Ikeja, Ifako-Ijaiye, kosofe, Oshodi-Isolo, Somolu and Surulere LGAs.
“Mop-up exercises would be carried out for the first and second streams between 21st and 22nd of March, 2018 and 28thand 29th of March, 2018 respectively in wards and communities adjudged not to have been adequately covered, as set out in the objectives of the campaign”, the Special Adviser said.
Onanuga further explained that two types of vaccination posts – the Fixed Post and the Temporary Fixed Post will be used for the campaign adding that the Fixed Vaccination Posts will be located at permanent health facilities where immunization will be provided between the hours of 8am and 4pm. The fixed posts according to him will also serve as depots for storage and distribution of vaccine and other supplies to the temporary fixed sites
“The Temporary Fixed Vaccination Posts on the other hand will be located at selected public and private schools, mosques, churches, town halls, houses of traditional leader, bus stops or terminals, motor parks, streets and markets, and hard-to-reach areas and border communities. Immunization will be provided at these sites from the hours of 8am to 4pm”, he noted.
The Special Adviser revealed that over 4,526 house-to-house mobilizers have been mandated to encourage eligible children that falls within the operational target population to visit the immunization posts for measles vaccine and the other antigens adding that 4,526 fixed and temporary fixed posts will be set up for the campaign.
While appealing to parent and caregiver to ensure that all the children between 9 months and 5 years are taken to the health posts for the measles vaccination, Onanuga stated the vaccination service is free, the vaccine is safe and effective, andis to be administered to the children irrespective of their previous immunization status.
Said he “I hereby seize this opportunity to encourage our parents and care givers to ensure that their children and wards are taken to the primary health care clinics to receive measles vaccine and all other scheduled routine immunizations. This is with a view to protecting them against the preventable killer diseases”.
Noting that remarkable progress has been made in the prevention of measles infection and its attendant complications through the introduction of measles vaccination, the Special Adviser stated many training workshops had been organized to strengthen the capacity of relevant health workers in microplanning, social mobilization and actual implementation to ensure the success of this year’s campaign.
Onanuga added that the State Government has equally embarked on massive media campaign to sensitize and mobilize the citizenry effectively stressing that town announcements; community dialogues; mosque and church announcements; sensitizations with schools; and advocacy meetings with LGA Chairmen, Ward Councillors, Supervisory Councillors for Health, and key traditional and religious leaders have been and are being carried out.
“Thousands of volunteers from partners such as United Nations Children Fund (UNICEF), World Health Organization (WHO), Japanese International Cooperation Agency (JICA), Medical Women Association of Nigeria (MWAN), Nigerian Red Cross Society, Rotary Club International and Lions Club have been mobilized to complement awareness creation activities at the community level”, he said.
He explained also that State technical facilitators and independent monitors will provide technical assistance and supervisory support on the field adding that Local Government Areas through their Chairmen have also been mobilized and encouraged to make budgetary provision to support the campaign.
Onanuga who noted that the responsibility to vaccinate all eligible children against measles is not that of the parents and care givers alone opined that the responsibility rests on everybody to ensure that children are fully immunized against childhood preventable diseases.
“I am therefore pleading with all our leaders in the State; politicians, councilors, traditional leaders, and religious leaders to take full responsibility in ensuring that every child in their community receives all the necessary polio and other scheduled immunizations. This campaign is another window of opportunity to protect our children from these vaccine preventable diseases”, he said.
Measles is a highly contagious viral illness transmitted through respiratory droplets and with mortality more amongst children who are less than 5 years of age as well as malnourished children, especially with Vitamin A deficiency and who live in crowded condition.