The National Primary Health Care Development Agency (NPHCDA) has disclosed that about 3.3 million children across Nigeria are yet to be immunised against measles as 33 million are targeted in the on going campaign across the country.
The agency noted that the figure makes Nigeria the country with the highest number of children exposed to the killer disease in the world.
Mr. Akuso Yahyah, a representative of the Agency, stated this during the official flag-off ceremony of 2017/2018 measles vaccinations campaign at Bagudo Local Government Area of Kebbi State, weekend.
According to Yahyah, “Measles is one of the causes of death among young children especially those under five years old. It is dangerous and infectious disease that spread rapidly from one infected child to others. And it is a major caused of blindness, malnutrition and death among children.
“Despite the availability of safe vaccines, Nigeria account for the highest number of measles cases globally with 3.3 million unimmunised children. This was due to the fact that all efforts to get unimmunised children in the past failed which required 95% coverage. Consequently, population responses to measles immunisation is very low across the country during outbreak of the disease.
“NPHCDA is appealing to parents guardians and Nigerians in general to make their children, wards available during the vaccinations campaign. It is not acceptable that thousands of children die of measles annually. Therefore, no elidible children should missed this opportunity during this exercise. The vaccine is safe,free.
“The campaign is to vaccinate 33 million Nigerian’s children against the diseases. Kebbi state is to vaccinated about 98,000 children.”
The Permanent Secretary, Kebbi State Ministry of Health, Hajia Halima Dikko, in her remarks confirmed that the state government had released N23 million counterpart funding as part of measure to ensure that about 98,000 children were captured in the on going 2017/2018 measles campaign in the state.
The state, in collaboration with other international agencies which includes; World Health Organisation (WHO), United Nation International Children Fund (UNICEF) and National Primary Health Care Development Agency (NPHCDA) have partnered against the killer disease following it outbreaks in the state with 77 cases confirmed.
Dikko explained that the official flag off of the measles vaccination campaign at Bagudo local government was due to it proximity to Benin Republic where many immigrants, especially children influx to the state without immunised against the disease.
“Following a call from Nigerian Government to released counterpart funding, Kebbi state was the first to complying with the release of the counterpart funding for this campaign of over N23 million.”.
She added that the peak period of measles is during the dry and hot seasons stressed that seven States targeted 850,000 children to be immunised against the diseases.
Dikko added that about 1,131 teams of vaccinators and 223 special teams would be moving from one house to other to immunise children against measles stressed that no parent would travel one kilometer before their children get vaccinated.
Governor Abubakar Atiku Bagudu, who flagged-off the campaign, thanked traditional rulers, religions leaders and international agencies for their support stressed that all stakeholders must work together to protect children against killer diseases in the country.