Femi Folaranmi, Yenagoa
The Bayelsa State Government has ordered a compulsory 13-days aggressive measles immunisation for children between the ages of 9 months and five years.
According to investigations the compulsory vaccination is to forestall n outbreak of children in the state especially in the rural areas.
Subsequently, to ensure full compliance and efficiency of its campaign, the state government has threatened to sanction any school that prevents children from being immunized.
The State Commissioner for Health, Prof. Ebitimitula Etebu who, disclosed the vaccination campaign in a press conference over the weekend, said the measure is part of efforts to prevent children from untimely death and other serious lifelong complications associated with the viral disease.
Etebu explained that the measles immunization will take place from First to 13 of March at every hospital, schools, market places, churches, mosques and motor parks across the state.
According to him, the measles immunization has no relations with the monkey Pox and called on caregivers and mothers to ensure that every child is presented for the vaccine regardless of their previous vaccination statues.
He said the campaign against measles was being co-sponsored by the Federal Government, partners and donors, adding that the vaccine is free, safe and beneficial to the children.
Also speaking, the Commissioner for Education, Jonathan Obuebite, announced government’s decision to lift ban placed on medical outreach to school during the Monkey Pox episode.
He said the lift of the ban became necessary in order to allow the Bayelsa Child have access to the lifesaving immunization.
Obuebite, who said it is an offence for any teacher to prevent health workers from this humanitarian service is schools, explained that government huge investment in health can only be meaningful when children are healthy enough to attend school and learn.
Obuebite said he will be accompanying the health workers to some schools during the exercise in order to demonstrate the importance government attached to the wellbeing of every child in the state.
The Commissioner for Information, Daniel Iworiso-Markson, who coordinated the Measles Campaign Press Briefing, explained that government huge investment in public health particularly, the establishment of the top notch Diagnostic Centre is indicative of government commitment to preventive care.
He said government also paid is counterpart funding for the measles immunization outreach slated for March to ensure that children are healthy enough to attend over 600 schools established in the nooks and crannies of the state.