The United Nations Children Fund (UNICEF) and the National Orientation Agency (NOA) , have urged mothers and healthcare givers to continue immunising children against child-killer diseases amid COVID-19 pandemic.
The agencies gave the advice at a one-day sensitisation programme for journalists tagged “Media Orientation Meeting for Measles Campaign” held on Wednesday in Owerri.
The Director of NOA in Imo, Mr Vitus Ekeocha, said it had become necessary to sensitise members of the public, especially nursing mothers on the need to access primary healthcare centers to immunise their children.
He said that most mothers and care givers had, in the confusion created by the emmergence of Coronavirus, forgotten and abandoned the immunisatiuon of their children, which he said, had grave consequences.
Ekeocha said the programme was an enlightenment campaign on vaccination against measles and other child-killer diseases and enjoined media houses to help propagate the message.
“COVID-19 is a war which should be fought with all the arsenal the government has. Most mothers at the present stituation may not remember to go and immunise their children.
“There is need to sensitise mothers and care givers that in spite of the pandemic, they should not forget to immunise their children and wards and disregard rumours associated with the COVID-19 pandemic vaccine.
“The press, through their various medium, are enjoined to reach out to the people. Everyone in Imo is expected to know the importance of immunisation,” Ekeocha said.
Also, Dr Chibuzo Okoroama, an Immunisation Officer with Imo State Primary Health Care Developmnt Agency (ISPHCDA) in an “Overview of Measles Campaign” described measles as a highly infectious viral disease caused by measles virus that causes death of children globally.
She noted that there was no specific antiviral treatment for measles but that it could be prevented by immunisation with measles vaccine.
Okoroama listed some necessary children vaccines, their mode of adminstration and dosage.
They include Measles Vaccine for measles, BCG for tuberculosis, OPV/IPV for poliomyelitis, Hepatitis B Vaccine, Yellow Fever and Rotavirus vaccines.
According to her, measles is spread through contact with nose and throat secretions in airborne droplets released when an infected person sneezes or coughs.
She, therefore, urged parents to ensure their children were immunised at the right time with correct doses.
Earlier, the UNICEF Programme Officer in Imo, Mr Chigozie Ojiaku noted that vaccination or immunisation is the right of every child which should not be denied them.
Ojiaku urged mothers to ensure complete immunisation processes for their children.
He harped on the need to improve on the health indices of the state through immunisation, hence the need for people of the state to get the right messages on immunisation.
Ojiaku said the media, as news gate keepers, waged a lot of influence on what the people should know and believe, appealing to them to promote news on immunisation.
Mrs Violet Igwe, Social Moblisation and Technical Officer and Director ICT in the state Ministry of Information, said information moulded opinion of people, as such its powers could not be overemphasised.
She called on the media to disseminate the information on measles vaccination and discourage propaganda on immunisation against the measles.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the journalists were drawn from the print, electronic and online media.