By; ALEX UANGBAOJE, Kaduna
As part of his commitment to revitalize the primary healthcare delivery system in Kano State, Governor Abdullahi Umar Ganduje has flagged-off the introduction of meningitis vaccines into Routine Immunization (RI) Schedule.
The Governor, who was represented at flag-off which took place at Tofa Local Government Area by the Secretary to the State Government Usman Alhaji, reiterated his commitment to strengthen the health care sector in the state.
“We are totally committed to improve the healthcare delivery for the optimal benefit of our people and this is achievable with the continued support of our development partners like UNICEF, WHO, National Primary Health Care Development Agency and a host of others”. The Governor stated.
Ganduje, also urged all stakeholders to continue to support the state healthcare programme towards achieving improved primary healthcare and to enable communities access healthcare with minimum difficulties.
“I call on our traditional leaders to continue to engage and enlighten the public on the importance of accessing healthcare nearest to them across the state. He said.
The governor revealed that the event marks part of fulfilment of his promises during the electioneering campaign to provide healthcare services to every part of the state.
According to him, “we all have a role to play in accelerating healthcare and I call on all LGAs and our partners to invest in promoting routine immunization to reduce the occurrence of preventable and killer diseases like the meningitis.
“It is my hope that this flag-off will serve as a laudable milestone in Kano’s quest to ensure that all its eligible children receive full protection against vaccine preventable diseases.”
UNICEF alongside other development partners supported Kano State in ensuring that all RI providing frontline health workers have received the requisite training that will enable them to administer this vaccine safely together alongside other vaccines.
UNICEF is also supporting the State in communicating to caregivers the risk of meningitis and the importance of Men A vaccination.
In a goodwill message, Hajiya Saudat Basheer, UNICEF Health Specialist, Kano field office said UNICEF would continue to remain a committed partner with Kano State to promote the wellbeing of children to thrive, survive and grow to their full potential.
“Meningitis is an extremely distressing disease that causes significant loss of life especially in countries located within what is called “the meningitis belt” which consists of almost all the states in Nigeria including Kano State.
“Kano, with a projected total population of 15 million people has an estimated 4 million people at risk of meningitis. In 2018, there were 484 cases of meningitis across 38 LGAs of Kano State. Saudat said.
Similarly, His Royal Highness the emir of Bichi, Alhaji Aminu Ado Bayero ably represented by Alhaji Isyaku Umar Tofa, district head of Tofa reaffirmed the traditional leaders resolve to ensure that the meningitis along with other vaccinations succeed in the state for a sustainable child survival.
He appealed to mothers in particular to take advantage of this initiative for their children.
Earlier, the Permanent Secretary of the state ministry of Health, Alhaji Usman Bala Mohammed has revealed that all the necessary logistics and personnel have been trained for the smooth conduct of the exercise.
He emphasized that meningitis is a communicable and killer disease that requires collective efforts to tackle.
He confirmed the state commitment to achieve a functional primary healthcare under one roof programme to enable communities especially in hard to reach settlements to access healthcare.
In Nigeria, 25 states and the FCT are prone to meningitis with almost 30 million children at risk in these states.
Meningitis vaccine has been proven effective and would be administered during routine immunizations against measles and yellow fever vaccines for children from nine years of age.
Other partners at the occasion include WHO, NPHCDA and several non-governmental organizations.