By Stephen Adeleye.
Kogi State Government, on Wednesday, said it had concluded plans to immunise about 1. 6 million children against measles and meningitis disease across the 21 local government councils of the state.
The Executive Director, Kogi State Primary Health Care Development Agency (KSPHCDA), Dr. Abubakar Yakubu, who disclosed during a press briefing in Lokoja, said the state’s meningitis and measles vaccination campaign would commence on October 8.
He said that children within the ages of 9 months and 59 months totaling 866,328 would be immunised against measles while children within the ages of one year and five years totaling 815,368 would be immunised against meningitis.
Yakubu noted that the objectives was to reduce measles transmission in Nigeria and attain measles elimination goal of 2012-2028, adding that it would also protect all new birth cohorts in the state of the meningitis belt against meningitis.
According to Yakubu, measles is a highly infectious air borne disease caused by the Measles virus through respiratory droplets; one of the childhood killer diseases and tends to occur in epidemics.
He defined meningitis as a dangerous infectious disease that affects the coverings of the brain and spinal cord, caused by viral, bacterial or fungal, saying viral remained the commonest form of meningitis.
He urged all traditional leaders, religious leaders, parents and all stakeholders to ensure that all targeted children are present for vaccination.
He said that wife of the Kogi Governor, Hajia Rashida Bello is expected to flagged off the campaign on October 8, at NPI in Okene Local Government Council.
He added that the vaccination campaign would be conducted using various government approved health facilities and designated temporary fixed and mobile centers such as schools, churches, mosques, markets, parks, among others.
”All vaccines are free and safe; mothers and caregivers should avail themselves of this opportunity and make sure their children are vaccinated”, Yakubu said.
He reiterated the full commitment of Gov. Yahaya Bello to the immunisation programme, while thanking the governor for his unflinching support to the programme.
He also thanked the National Primary Health Care Development Agency (NPHCDA) and partners such as UNICEF, WHO, AFENET/NSTOP, CDC, GAVI, for the funding, technical and logistics support to ensure quality campaign implementation.
Mr Abdulazeez Yahya, representative from NPHCDA Abuja, noted that the target for the elimination of meningitis and measles in Nigeria had been extended to 2028 instead of the initial year 2020.