Kwara state government has debunked rumours of forceful public health interventions on the people of the state, saying that all health interventions of the state government are qualitative and aimed at reducing mortality in the state.
Speaking with journalists in Ilorin, the Kwara state capital on Tuesday, the Commissioner for Health, Dr. Amina Ahmed El-Imam, particularly decried certain messages that had gone viral alleging government’s forceful Polio vaccination on children, including other public health interventions, saying they are disinformation, misinformation, malicious and condemnable.
Describing the audio messages which had gone viral on the social media that the vaccination team of the state government would be going around with military personnel between October 10 and 11, 2023 to force children to take Polio vaccines as untrue, wicked and malicious, the Commissioner said the Ministry of Health has never forced anybody, using the military, to take any of its vaccines.
She said: “This is not only ridiculous but also completely and utterly untrue. None of the lofty vaccination programmes of the Ministry of Health has ever had a forceful component to it. It’s not mandatory. We have never forced parents or used military personnel for children to take any of the vaccines that are being distributed by agencies of the Health Ministry entirely.”
Dr. El-Imam, who stated that the state government has a lot of ongoing public health engagements, such as polio and measles, added that all the interventions are verified by health experts in the state.
“A team of doctors, public health experts and administrators always look at the drugs, vaccines and other interventions provided from any of the sources, even from the Federal Ministry of Health before we administer it to people of Kwara state.
“People accept our vaccines because they trust us. When they hear this rumour, it does not do well for that trust. We’re determined to continue to safeguard health of our children, women, elderly, youths and everybody. And all the interventions of Governor AbdulRahman AbdulRazaq in health sector are geared towards the betterment of the citizens and residents of the state.
The Commissioner, who noted that issues of disinformation and misinformation in public health engagements, vaccination and immunization had been in existence for long, added that it is not peculiar to Nigeria or Kwara state.
“It happened with COVID-19, Lassa fever, polio vaccination. COVID-19 was actually introduction of two pandemics. COVID-19 pandemic and infodemics. That had persisted. People tend to distrust the pandemic. But we reassure the people that we’re determined to continue to make things work well in Kwara state. Vaccines save five lives per minute. Every rumour about vaccines and vaccination is not true. We took it in our early life and we’re alive today,” she stressed.
She also reminded residents to embrace the insecticide treated nets (ITN) when the distribution commences from October 19 in order to reduce mortality associated with malaria.