Measles: UNICEF targets 85 percent immunisation coverage in southern Nigeria

Eme Offiong, Calabar

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The United Nations Childrens Fund, UNICEF, has flagged off the second dose of measles vaccination targeted at 85 percent of children living in southern Nigeria.

Mark Etege, the Permanent Secretary of the Cross River state Primary Health Care Development Agency, flagged off the exercise in Anantigha community, Calabar South local government area.

In a brief remark, Etege lauded the contributions of UNICEF to reducing infant mortality in the State, region and Country.

He called on members of the communities to bring out their children between nine and fifteen months old for the vaccination.

“In the state, we hope that 700 thousand children will be reached,” stated the Perm Secretary.

Free Vaccines
Also speaking, Dr. Iyabo Ajibola, a UNICEF Consultant, warned health workers against making monetary demand from parents for the vaccination of the children against measles.

Dr. Ajibola stressed that it was wrong for any health worker to demand for money since the Nigerian Government, UNICEF and other partners made the vaccines available free of charge.

She said: “It is important to say that vaccination of measles second dose is free and no person should demand money from parents because the vaccine is free and it is safe. The disease is very dangerous and both the federal government and our partners are conscious of this”.

She urged parents to ensure that children, who are nine months and fifteen months were to be taken for immunization, maintaining that the exercise would last for one week in the first instance, and thereafter, routinely done at the various health facilities.

Bassey Okposen, the National Emergency Routine Immunization Coordinator, appealed to parents to ensure that their children were vaccinated against measles to avoid life threatening diseases.

He lamented that the rate at which children die of preventable diseases was alarming and appealed to parents to report any health worker, who demand for money because government wants every child of nine months and fifteen months to be immunized in order to prevent death and diseases.

Bilkisu Pai