Both Federal and Borno state government with support from the World Health Organization (WHO) and the United Nations Children’s Educational Fund ( UNICEF ) and other partners on saturday entered the Day 6 of the 10 Day Yellow Fever Vaccination campaign to over 1.2 million IDPs In Borno.
The WHO Health Communication and promotion Officer, Dr. Chima Onuekwe, disclosed this yesterday in a joint Statement with UNICEF Representative in Nigeria, Mohammed Fall, in Maiduguri, the Borno state capital.
“WHO, UNICEF and other partners are supporting the Borno State Ministry of Health to vaccinate more than 1.2 million internally displaced persons (IDPs) across 57 wards in 25 Local Government Areas in Borno State.
“More than 3,000 WHO-trained volunteers, including senior supervisors, monitors, healthcare workers and community leaders including Mobilizers , will immunize 1.2 million IDPs aged from 9 months to 45 years at designated health facilities. The campaign began on 5 February, and is expected to continue until 14 February
“To ensure vaccine availability and uptake, UNICEF supported the Borno State Government with logistics for vaccine distribution and social mobilization. Through the deployment of over 2,000 community volunteers and key influencers, UNICEF enhanced community engagement for yellow fever preventive vaccination and ensured that community is aware of the campaign and yellow fever risks.
“If we miss out on children of Borno, often living in very difficult conditions, we deprive large number of children of lifesaving vaccines. It is not only their right but our collective duty to ensure that they survive and thrive,” said Mohammed Fall, UNICEF Nigeria Representative,” the statement reads.
The statement added that to ensure a high-quality campaign, WHO worked with the Borno State Ministry of Health to coordinate and facilitate the training of healthcare workers at all levels, arrange logistics for vaccine distribution and deliver messages on health risks to communities.
“Although Borno State has not reported an outbreak of yellow fever this year, vaccinating internally displaced persons is an exercise of high public health importance to protect most-at-risk populations living in high-risk conditions and prevent the spread of yellow fever, if an outbreak occurs,” said Dr. Wondimagegnehu Alemu, WHO Nigeria Representative.
The Borno State Honourable Commissioner for Health, Dr. Haruna Mshelia, emphasized the importance of vaccinating IDPs in camps and host communities.
“The vulnerable living conditions of millions of people in Borno State and the tide of outbreaks across 16 States in Nigeria makes it imperative to target the most at-risk people with yellow fever vaccination in the State.”
“These efforts are part of a larger yellow fever vaccination campaign that seeks to vaccinate more than 25 million people throughout 2018, in the largest yellow fever vaccination drive in Nigeria’s history. This fits into a wider public health health goal to eliminate yellow fever epidemics globally by 2026 through the Eliminate Yellow fever Epidemics (EYE) Strategy, steered by WHO, Gavi and UNICEF,” the statement further reads.