Kaduna State Deputy Governor, Dr Hadiza Balarabe says, the State Government had integrated meningitis “A” vaccine into routine immunization program to protect the vulnerable and unprotected in the society.
She made the disclosure while flagging-off the campaign against meningitis at Gyallesu Primary Healthcare Centre in Zaria, Kaduna.
The Deputy Governor explained that Nigeria and some other Countries are categorized within the “Meningitis Belt” which are prone to experiencing meningitis epidemic.
She said the epidemic usually occurs in a fashion that mimics a circle, meaning that, it occurs once in every ten years, hence the prompt action of government to protect the vulnerable and unprotected within our society, adding that, vaccination remains the only weapon for to prevention and control the outbreak.
Dr Hadiza further explained that, more than 1.2 million of bacterial meningitis were estimated to occur annually Worldwide, while in Nigeria alone, over 10,000 cases occour with about 1,000 deaths.
She said, though, the disease affects old persons too, those within the ages of five to 14 were mostly affected, stressing that without treatment, cases prevalence would be as high as 70 per cent.
“It has been proven that one in five survivors of this disease may be left with permanent complications including hearing loss, neurological disabilities and so on. Our children have gone deaf, some growing with complete learning difficulties among other health challenging issues”.
Balarabe assured that the vaccine was safe, and that in spite of its cost of about 1,000 US Dollars per dose, children would get it free-of-charge.
The Deputy Governor therefore, urged parents, guardians and other care givers to seize the opportunity afforded and avail their children for the vaccine.
“We want every child in the State to be fully protected from diseases that threatens their growth. The state government will continue to seek enduring partnership that will ensure a disease-free and protected citizenry”.
She assured that government will maintain a cordial and harmonious working relationship with the development partners willing to create an atmosphere where reduction in incidences of diseases is possible.