Federal Government of Nigeria has said that 39 million children will be immunized against measles come this Friday. Briefing newsmen in Abuja, yesterday, Executive-Director, National Primary Health Care Development Agency, NPHCDA, Dr Ado Muhammad, stated that the first exercise would be done in 19 northern states of the country, while the second would be carried out in 17 states of the southern part in Nigeria.
He further said that the northern phase will be commencing this Friday and end on 29th of this month, while the South will have its turn between January 28 through the 1st of February next year.
NPHCDA boss added that the immunization is mainly for children between the ages of 9 and 59 months, explaining that the epidemiological results had indicated about 80 percent of the disease burden was in that age range.
He said: “The campaign is structured in two ways. One is facility-based immunization in which we expect children and wards to primary health centres. We also have outposts that we’ve identified such as churches, mosques, schools and homes of our traditional leaders. We also build transit point so that we will not miss any child in that age range. We will also target motor parks and other hard-to-reach areas in-between states and international borders.
“We also have made arrangement that all the IDP camps in the security-challenged areas of Borno, Yobe and Adamawa. As at last count, we have identified about 96 IDP camps, distributed in Borno, Yobe and Adamawa, and also part of FCT. Those IDP camps are also part of temporary posts.”
He went on: “ The Federal Government of Nigeria, through the National Primary Health Care Development Agency is committed to child survival. We know with effective immunization, about 40 percent of deaths in under-five can be reduced. We are committed to ensuring that we reduce to the barest minimum the burden of disease in this country.”
According to him, the routine immunization platform and follow-up campaign are for the newly born children and those that were not immunized in the previous campaign, noting that vaccines are adequately available in both the primary health care centres and secondary facilities.
“The essence is to provide immunity for our children, and it also helps to mitigate the occurrence of epidemics. That is why in every two years, we carry out vaccination campaign so that we can reach children that have been missed in routine immunization and give a second dose of opportunity to those already vaccinated.
“ In-between the last campaign we had and now, there are children that have gone out beyond the nine months because the routine immunization platform immunizes children by nine months.”
However, he noted that the exercise intends to reach a minimum of 95 percent of target population.
“The essence is that no child should be missed. We do not want to miss any child. We are determined to have quality campaign. We are determined to ensure that we have optimal uptake of this exercise. We are trying to ensure that we achieve 95 percent coverage, so that we can reduce and bring to the barest minimum, the burden of this disease in this country.”
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