A routine Immunisation campaign to include vaccinations for meningitis.A in children has kicked off in Kogi State, north central Nigeria.
The vaccine would protect children against meningitis especially in prone areas in sub Saharan Africa.
At the kick off, mothers were adviced to ensure their children receive the immunisation at nine months.
Meningitis A, though listed among vaccines to be administered to children before the age of 1, together with measles was previously not administered in the routine immunisation programme.
It was however administered independently at vaccination campaigns held in communities or door to door.
But mothers can now take their nine months old babies to any primary healthcare centre in the state to be administered the vaccine just like other vaccines normally given to babies at such centres.
It is administered free.
Signs and Symptoms
Mothers present at the flag off were also educated on the signs and symptoms of meningitis and what should be done if they suspect their child has the disease.
Meningitis is a bacterial infection of the meninges (three membranes that envelop the brain and spinal cord).
It is transmitted by person-to person through air droplets of respiratory secretions and close prolonged contact with an infected person.
Symptoms include; headache, stiff neck, high fever, sensitivity to light, confusion, headaches and vomiting.
According to reports, 10-20% of survivors are left with severe permanent disabilities such as paralysis, blindness and hearing loss.
The campaign is a partnership among the state and federal governments, as well as UNICEF, WHO and others.