Imo Government says all is now set for the immunisation of over 1.4 million children between nine months and five years of age with measles vaccine.
The state Commissioner for Health, Mrs Angela Uwakwem, made this known at the official flag off ceremony of the 2018 Measles Vaccination Campaign at Ideato South Local Government area of Imo state.
The programme is organised by the state ministry of health in collaboration with UNICEF, WHO and other international agencies.
Uwakwem described measles as a highly contagious viral illness and one of the six childhood killer diseases.
She said that Nigeria recorded a total of 13,893 suspected cases in 2017 and this informed the urgent need to implement follow-up measles immunisation campaign in the country.
“This is one of best strategies for the reduction of childhood mortality and morbidity from measles among children less than 5 years.
“It is expected that Imo State will immunise a total of over 1,004 million children of 9 months to 59 months of age,” she said.
The commissioner said that Imo came first in the last measles campaign in 2016, adding that there was need for improvement to retain the position.
She said the immunisation would take place in Orlu and Okigwe zones between March 8 and March 13, while Owerri zone would hold between Match 15 and March 20.
Uwakwem commended the Imo Government for releasing the state counterpart fund for the campaign and the governor and his wife for supporting health care delivery in the state.
She urged parents to ensure that their children, within the age bracket, were immunised, saying that the immunisation would be free and safe.
Imo Governor, Mr Rochas Okorocha, who flagged off the campaign through his wife, Mrs Nkechi Okorocha, commended the state ministry of health, UNICEF, WHO and Afrinet for organising the programme.
He said Imo Government understood the importance of good health, hence the need to support the programme.
Okorocha described measles as a preventable disease and urged all women to bring out their children to be immunised.
Mr Sebastian Okwu, the UNICEF representative in Imo, commended the state government for ensuring that children in the state were immunised by paying its counterpart fund.
He said measles is a world wide diseases of children and no respecter of locality.
Okwu said that Imo had the lowest measles rate in the country and urged traditional rulers to help mobilise women in their communities to maintain the status.
Mrs Ifenyinwa Adimora, the Zonal Director, Primary Health Care Development Agency, also said that measles was preventable.
She said the campaign was to reduce child mortality and morbidity to the bearest minimum.
Adimora urged parents to avail themselves of the opportunity to immunise their children.
Mr Emma Ibediro, the Commissioner for Local Government and Rural Development and Mr Ikechukwu Amuka, a House Member, representing Idiato South, promised to take the immunisation message to all the local governments and House of Assembly to ensure adequate support and success of the programme.