The Federal Government has earmarked N3.5 billion for the national immunization campaign against measles, Minister of State for Health, Dr. Osagie Ehanire, has said.
The minister, who flagged-off the campaign on Tuesday at Miyetti Allah Primary Healthcare Centre, in Rigassa, Kaduna, said more than 3.3 million children were being targeted nationwide.
Ehanire, represented by the Executive Director, National Primary Health Care Development Agency, Dr Faisal Shuaib, said measles has remained a public health challenge in the country.
“This is due to persistently low routine measles immunization coverage and the fact that several measles supplemental immunization campaigns conducted to provide a second opportunity to reach unimmunized children has failed to achieve the required 95 per cent coverage.
” Consequently, population immunity for measles is very low resulting in frequent outbreak of the disease across the country,” the minister said.
According to him, the ministry is confident of containing measles in the county because of the high quality preparations and financial commitments by all levels of government.
“It is therefore imperative that all stakeholders support the campaign with time, material and financial resources to meet the targeted 3.3 million children within the period,” the minister said.
The minister noted that the agency was working with Development Partners to achieve high quality and effective measles vaccination in the 2017/2018 campaign.
” May I use this opportunity to appreciate the Kaduna State governor and his colleagues across the country that have released their counterpart fund for the measles vaccination campaign.
” I am optimistic that the other governors will release theirs on schedule for the campaign.
” It is pertinent to state that funding health should not be perceived as expenditure as it is a great investment in our human capital.
” I therefore urge all political, traditional and religious leaders and the civil society to provide the required oversight and the resources to safeguard the lives of our children,” the minister said.
The minister appealed to the development partners, media and other stakeholders to support the campaign to ensure that measles was eradicated within record time in the country.
Enahire commended religious leaders and traditional rulers for supporting the campaign.
Gov. Nasiru El-Rufai said that the state government plans to conduct the measles immunisation campaign across the state beginning from Nov. 9.
Represented by his deputy, Mr Barnabas Bantex, the governor said that the government would continue to place priority in eradicating communicable diseases among children to reduce the rate of mortality among children.
He said that the state government had commenced the upgrade of its 255 primary health care centers to enhance health care services.
The governor urged parents and health care givers to sustain the effort to eradicate the menace, assuring that the vaccines were safe.
El-Rufai through his wife, Hajiya Aisha Garba presented three of their kids for the immunization, to prove that the vaccines’ were safe.
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