BY ODIRI UCHENUNU-IBEH, Lagos
With Nigeria almost at the last stage of being declared a polio-free country, the Lagos state government has confirmed environmental strand of Polio Virus in Makoko, Itire and Maracana canals in the state.
Permanent Secretary, Lagos State Ministry of Health, Titilayo Goncalves, disclosed this at a one-day media/stakeholders sensitization workshop yesterday in Lagos, saying the state government with support from the United Nations Children’s Funds (UNICEF) and other agencies, is gearing up for another polio vaccination campaign in this regard from Saturday 15 to Tuesday 18 June, 2019.
Goncalves said the campaign was aimed at eliminating the polio virus found in the state, adding the state governor, Mr Babajide Sanwo-Olu was very passionate in ensuring that no child in Lagos suffers disability or death as a result of vaccine preventable diseases.
“The second phase of the polio vaccination campaign is in furtherance of the noble goal that all our children in Lagos State be covered by the present immunisation campaign which is being done house to house so that the 100 per cent status of polio Immunization will be attained, maintained and sustained.
“We have made good progress in this bid with the cooperation and support of other agencies and development partners but we are still pursuing this goal with great determination and focus so that no single child between 0 and 59 months should remain unimmunized or unprotected from the Polio virus,” she added.
The 4-days campaign which would be flagged off tomorrow will commence on June 15 to June 18, 2019. The operations would run between 8AM and 4PM daily, says Goncalves, adding no child should be left out.
“It is an opportunity for parents and caregivers to catch up with the other immunizations by going to the PHCs and general hospitals in their neighborhood. It is safe, free and not dangerous at all. It can be taken in spite of former Immunization status. In fact, no child is safe from the vaccine preventable diseases until immunized,” she added.
In his remarks, Dr Usman Adamu from Primary Health Care Board, Abuja, said data from the last polio campaign revealed the main reasons some children were not vaccinated in Lagos State include estates and gated communities refusing entry of immunization teams and many parents claimed not to have heard about immunization campaign.
As long as a single child remains unprotected by immunization, there is a high risk for infection to occur, says Adamu. He urged the media to create more awareness on the need for parent to ensure that their children under age five get vaccinated against polio.
He, however, appealed to parents and caregivers to ensure all children between the ages of five and below receive polio vaccine within the period while the children zero month to five years are also taken to the health points designated for other vaccinations.