From: Agaju Madugba, Katsina
Some community leaders in Katsina State have identified alleged lack of basic infrastructure as part of the reasons why parents rejected polio and other immunization programmes for their children and wards in the state.
According to the Galadima (Village Head) of Ruma in Batsari Local Government Area, Bello Ibrahim Ruma, there was what he described as ‘100 per cent rejection of the immunization campaign’ in parts of his domain.
According to Ruma, “There is total rejection of the immunization project at a village called Jiba because the people say that government does not really care for them. There is not a single primary school in that community, there are no access roads and other social amenities there.”
The Galadima spoke, on Wednesday, in Katsina, at a meeting for ward development committees from the local government areas with officials of Save the Children International, an NGO working to improve the health and nutrition especially among children and women.
As he put it, “there is lack of development in the local areas and communities. Our people do not benefit from social amenities from the government and that is why they reject the immunization programme as a form of protest.”
Also speaking at the ceremony, Chairman of the ward development committee for Dan-Musa Local Government Area of the state, Mohammed Danjuma, said that, “during the last routine immunization day, the entire people of Yashi came out to block their children from being immunised because they accused government of neglecting their community and that is why they came up with the slogan that, no roads, no immunization.
“Flood has since submerged the only primary school for the community and the children no longer have access to education.
“There is also the issue of some people who reject the immunization programme because they hold the erroneous belief that immunization and vaccines make the people especially women to become barren.
“When it comes to the area of addressing malnourished children, some women hire malnourished children to collect RUTF (the special formula distributed free for the treatment of mal-nourishment in children) for sale.
“Some unscrupulous health workers also steal the RUTF from the primary health centres which they later sell and there is also the problem of difficulties as some communities do not have access to some of the health facilities located outside their communities.”