Kwara govt commences fresh Polio Immunization Campaign • Urges parents, other stakeholders to support programme Stephen Olufemi Oni, Ilorin

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Kwara State Government on Friday flagged off another round of the Polio Immunization campaign for children under the age of five in the state.

The exercise, which is second in series in the year, is expected to cover all the nooks and crannies of the state, beginning from Saturday 20th to Tuesday, 23rd April, 2024.

Addressing a press briefing in Ilorin, the Executive Secretary of the State Primary Healthcare Development Agency (KWSPHCDA) Dr Nusirat Elelu, called on all parents, religious houses and schools to get the target children vaccinated within the stipulated time, adding that the vaccine is safe and efficacious.

At the event were the Zonal Coordinator for the World Healthy Organization (WHO), North central, Dr Zeenat Asmail; North Central Monitoring and Evaluation officer for WHO, Dr Mariam Bello Abubakar; State Coordinator, for WHO, Dr Emmanuel Eyitayo; UNICEF representative Pharm. Adebayo Bolaji; representative of AFENET, Akinyode Ayodeji; Director Primary Healthcare system, Dr Micheal Oguntoye; Director Personnel, Finance and Supply at the State Primary Healthcare Development Agency health, Ajide Olayioye; and HoDs of Health in several local government areas of the state; among other dignitaries.

“I enjoin all parents, caregivers, religious houses, schools, Quranic institutions to make eligible children available for vaccination as the teams move from house to house, markets, religious houses and schools,” the Executive Secretary said at the press briefing.

“All children 0-5 years are expected to be vaccinated irrespective of their previous vaccination status. Let me reiterate that the vaccine is safe, efficacious and does not have an overdose”.

She said poliomyelitis (polio) is a highly infectious viral disease that largely affects children under 5 years of age, and that the virus can be transmitted through the fecal-oral route or, less frequently, by contaminated water or food.

The virus multiplies in the intestine from where it can invade the nervous system and cause irreversible paralysis, she said.

Dr Elelu said though Nigeria has been certified polio free, there is however the need to sustain the gains by ensuring that the most at risk group is protected by boosting population immunity of eligible children through supplementary and routine immunization activities, such as this exercise.

The Executive Secretary also said that the state government has continued to partner the development partners, such as WHO, UNICEF and NPHCDA to sustain the immune system of the citizens.

According to Elelu, at least 2,034 vaccination teams will be going from house to house to carry out the exercise, with an expectation to vaccinate as many as children against polio.

She said the agency recorded a huge success during the last polio campaign, which she said had covered at least 1.5 million children of the age bracket across communities, attributing the outcome to the support of the state government.

She also hailed the commitment of all development partners and health workers, who participated in the first round of the campaign, seeking their improved dedication in the current event.

“The unwavering support and financial commitment of His Excellency, the Executive Governor of Kwara State, Mallam Abdulrahman Abdulrasaq, enabled us to reach over 1.5M children with the lifesaving polio vaccine during the first round that took place in March 2024,” she said.

“The state government is also committed to sustaining the gains we have made by strengthening our Routine Immunization (RI) system. We have over 500 health facilities providing routine immunization with a strong cold chain system. These health facilities undertake regular outreach and RI intensification programmes funded by the state, UNICEF and the World Health Organization.

“In line with the agenda of the administration of Mallam Abdulrahman Abdulrazaq to make immunization services available at no cost to Kwarans, the Agency has produced Immunization Certificate (“Purple Card”), to be issued for FREE to all children who have completed their routine immunization”.

She, however, said that a proper arrangement has been put in place to forestall the repeat of reported cases of security compromise in some areas in the last exercise.

Highlights of the event were the symbolic immunization of some kids and the presentation of copies of blank immunization certificates to some HoDs of Health in some local government areas of the state.


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