George Onyejiuwa, Owerri
Lady Ebere Ihedioha, the wife of Imo State Governor Emeka Ihedioha, has said that her husband’s administration ensure that the state remains polio-free, as it has demonstrated its commitment to the Sustainable Millennium Development Goals under the Rebuild Imo Agenda of his government.
The Imo first lady disclosed that the Governor has released funds for the procurement of emergency cold chain equipment and accessories to ensure adequate vaccine storage during the campaign exercise, and has approved the release of the counterpart funds for the smooth implementation of the campaign.
Mrs Ihedioha stated this on Saturday at the Umuelemai headquarters of Isiala Mbano while flagging-off the 2019 National Immunization Plus Days organised by the Imo State Primary Health Care Development Agency in collaboration with the Office of the Wife of the Governor of Imo State and partners.
She noted that the benefits of immunization cannot be overemphasized, pointing to its ability to reduce and eliminate the prevalence of infectious diseases. She charged health workers to reach out to every community in the southeast and enlighten families and parents on the need for their children and wards between the ages of 0 to 5 years to be fully vaccinated.
Speaking at the event, the Speaker of Imo State House of Assembly, Hon. Chiji Collins, expressed appreciation for his local Government area being chosen for the flag-off campaign, and gave assurance that with him and other members of the Imo House the immunization will record huge success in the state.
The Senior Special Assistant to the Governor on Health Services, Estella Mbadiwe, described Poliomyelitis, or Infantile Paralysis, as a crippling and highly infectious disease that spreads when the stool of an infected person enters into the mouth of another person through the taking in of contaminated water or food.
Mbadiwe, a pharmacist, stated that Polio is endemic and has no cure, yet pointed out that the safe, tested and only way of preventing children from contracting the disease is through vaccination which takes place during immunization. She called on all stakeholders to join hands in the eradication of Polio.
Speaking at the event, the Coordinator of the World Health Organization, Dr Sebastian Okwu, stated that over the past 15 years, Imo State has been polio-free; as he urged citizens not to let down their guard, being that the communicable disease is still endemic in other parts country.
A Consultant Paediatrician at the Federal Medical Centre, Owerri, and the Guest Speaker of the occasion, Dr Emeka Nwaolisa, said that immunization is free and it remains the most cost effective tool for the reduction of childhood and maternal mortality and morbidity occuring from preventable diseases.
Dr Nwaolisa demystified myths attached to immunization and called on parents and healthcare providers to make good use of the opportunity afforded by immunization to eradicate communicable diseases.