By Mary Jalingo


A child being vaccinated against measles

A total of 1.4 million children between the ages of 9months to 59months have been targeted to be vaccinated during the measles campaign slated to commence in Niger State from February 8, 2018.

Dr. Samuel Jiya, Programme Manager, Immunization in the State Primary Healthcare Development Agency (SPHCDA) said measles as one of the child killer diseases has caused lots of morbidity and mortality in our communities adding that the routine system where children were supposed to get vaccinated was not really effective.

Dr. Jiya said the measles campaign which is a national event happening across the federation would help bridge the gap so that children that may not have access to health facilities can receive the vaccine at designated posts which may either be at the emir’s palace, mai agwan’s house, mosques and churches among other fixed posts.

He said for the state which falls under the North Central Zone, implementation would commence February 8, where over 1.4 million children would be vaccinated across the 274 wards in the 25 LGAs.

He said the strategy for the campaign was essentially good coverage and to ensure that no child was left out through the mobilization of health facilities, equipments, drugs and vaccines across the state.

Dr. Jiya said some of the challenges in vaccination was that there are still communities that are not aware of the importance of vaccines which he said was prevention of diseases before it’s outbreak which he noted was one of the bedrock of public health.

He said the state was working hard to create awareness especially among women and caregivers to mobilize their children to the vaccination posts adding that the campaign was not like the polio campaign that is house to house as this would be given by qualified health workers because the vaccine is injectable.

He said measles vaccine like all other vaccines is free and safe as it is a very productive tool designed to prevent disease outbreak and urged all stakeholders especially husbands to encourage their wives to bring out their children to access the vaccine.

He said the state was doing everything possible to educate women on card retention as it would demonstrate evidence that a child has receive vaccination in case of independent verification or survey.

He said even if a child has taken the measles vaccination before, the campaign was an opportunity for the child to have a second dose which he noted would re-strengthen and re-enforce impunity of the child.

In a related development, the media as the fourth esteem of the realm has been urged to lend their voices to the success of the measles campaign in the state.

Dr. Ahmed Tsoho, Communication Specialist, UNICEF Kaduna field office, made the call during a one day media orientation on measles vaccination campaign held at Nasfah Hotel.

Dr. Tsoho said the media was very vital in the success of the campaign because of its wider reach and said that UNICEF was ready to work with the media to boost social mobilization activities on the campaign which he noted was low for now.