By; PATRICK TITUS, Uyo
Akwa Ibom StatevGovernment has attributed dismal health indicators to why the state ranked high in many childhood diseases Including infant, maternal and HIV/AIDS
Worried by the development, the state government has solicited increased immunisation coverage from stakeholders to check the spread these preventable childhood killer diseases in the state.
The appeal came on the heels of the forthcoming 2019 National Immunisation Plus Days (NIPDs) scheduled to hold from July 13 to 16 this year.
Unlike other years, the programme as approved by the Federal Ministry of Health will only be one round exercise.
Godfrey Akro, a medical doctor and director of public health services who made this known in Uyo during a social mobilisation meeting said immunisation is important for the growth and sustainable development among children
“Since prevention is better than cure, there is need for stakeholders to take ownership of the programme for the elimination of early childhood diseases.”
Represented by Mr. Ime Udoh, the State immunisation officer he noted that the exercise would involve house-to-house vaccination of children and lauded the contributions of partners in a bid to check killer diseases among children and pregnant women.
He called on communities, households, churches, mosques and institutions to be prepared to receive health personnel during the immunisation campaign.
The state health educator, Margaret Etim in her remarks said with only one round of the exercise this year, it beholves all and sundry to take advantage of the exercise to immunise their children against childhood diseases.
She also disabused the minds of parents on wrong the perception about childhood diseases, saying that lack of immunisation could cause diseases and mal-functioning among children.
Etim, observed that the United Nations Fund( UNICEF) ranks Akwa Ibom as one of the best in terms of Social Mobilization on NIPDs in Nigeria, hence the tempo should be sustained.
“For effective mobilisation, the message about immunisation should be carried to churches, mosques, town hall meeting by care givers, religious leaders, traditional rulers, town criers and neighbours,” she emphasised.
Ann Umoh, the State Coordinator, National Primary Health Care Development Agency, stressed that for the programme to be successful, all stakeholders have a responsibility to disseminate the information to the communities in the state.
Giving an update on Malaria Preventive Strategies Integration, the State Malaria Control Officer, Mary Bassey, maintained that while dwelling on Immunisation, there was need for all hands to be on deck towards preventing other diseases such as malaria.
She, therefore, reminded households to ensure the use of Long Lasting Insecticidal Treated Nets (LLITNs as the state had made 95.5 per cent distribution.
Besides, she spoke on the need for a test for malaria before treatment and pregnant mothers taking of Intermediate Preventive Therapy (IPT) three times before delivery as well as the keeping of environment clean by clearing of bushes, de-silting of drainages and proper disposal of empty of cans.