- Targets over 3.6 million
The 2018 measles vaccination campaign for children between the age nine months and five years will hold in Lagos State from today to March 29, 2018 the state government has said.
The Special Adviser to the Governor on Primary Health Care, Dr. Olufemi Onanuga, who made this known while briefing newsmen on the level of preparedness for the campaign, noted that 3, 609, 538 children are being targeted during the vaccination campaign.
“The objective of the campaign is to immunise at least 95 per cent of children aged nine months to five years with measles vaccine in all local government areas regardless of their previous immunization status,” he said.
Onanuga explained that the measles vaccination campaign would be implemented in two streams, stressing that the first phase will hold in Alimosho, Agege, Ajeromi-Ifelodun, Amuwo-Odofin, Epe, Ikorodu, Lagos Island, Lagos Mainland, Mushin and Ojo local government areas between today and March 22, 2018.
He added that the second stream will hold from March 22-29, 2018 in Apapa, Badagry, Eti-Osa, Ibeju-Lekki, Ikeja, Ifako-Ijaiye, Kosofe, Oshodi-Isolo, Somolu and Surulere LGAs.
“Mop-up exercises would be carried out for the first and second streams from March 21-22 and March 28-29, respectively in wards and communities adjudged not to have been adequately covered, as set out in the objectives of the campaign,” the Special Adviser said.
Onanuga further explained that two types of vaccination posts the Fixed Post and the Temporary Fixed Post will be used for the campaign, adding that the Fixed Vaccination Posts will be located at permanent health facilities where immunisation will be provided between the hours of 8am and 4pm.
The fixed posts, according to him, will also serve as depots for storage and distribution of vaccine and other supplies to the temporary fixed sites.
“The Temporary Fixed Vaccination Posts on the other hand will be located at selected public and private schools, mosques, churches, town halls, houses of traditional leader, bus stops or terminals, motor parks, streets and markets, and hard-to-reach areas and border communities. Immunisation will be provided at these sites from the hours of 8am to 4pm,” he noted.
The Special Adviser revealed that over 4, 526 house-to-house mobilisers have been mandated to encourage eligible children that fall within the operational target population to visit the immunisation posts for measles vaccine and the other antigens adding that 4, 526 fixed and temporary fixed posts will be set up for the campaign.
While appealing to parents and caregivers to ensure that all the children involved are taken to the health posts for the measles vaccination, Onanuga stated the vaccination service is free, safe and effective, and is to be administered to the children irrespective of their previous immunisation status.
Said he: “I hereby seize this opportunity to encourage our parents and caregivers to ensure that their children and wards are taken to the primary health care clinics to receive measles vaccine and all other scheduled routine immunizations. This is with a view to protecting them against the preventable killer diseases.”
Onanuga added that the state government has equally embarked on massive media campaign to sensitise and mobilise the citizenry effectively, stressing that town announcements, community dialogues, mosque and church announcements, sensitisations with schools and advocacy meetings with LGA chairmen, ward councillors, supervisory councillors for health, and key traditional and religious leaders have been and are being carried out.
“Thousands of volunteers from partners, such as United Nations Children Fund (UNICEF), World Health Organisation (WHO), Japanese International Cooperation Agency (JICA), Medical Women Association of Nigeria (MWAN), Nigerian Red Cross Society, Rotary Club International and Lions Club have been mobilised to complement awareness creation activities at the community level,” he said.
He explained also that state technical facilitators and independent monitors will provide technical assistance and supervisory support on the field adding that local government areas through their chairmen have also been mobilised and encouraged to make budgetary provision to support the campaign.
Onanuga who noted that the responsibility to vaccinate all eligible children against measles is not that of the parents and care givers alone opined that the responsibility rests on everybody to ensure that children are fully immunised against childhood preventable diseases.
“I am, therefore, pleading with all our leaders in the state; politicians, councillors, traditional leaders, and religious leaders to take full responsibility in ensuring that every child in their community receives all the necessary polio and other scheduled immunizations. This campaign is another window of opportunity to protect our children from these vaccine preventable diseases,” he said.