The United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) has renewed its committed to partner with State Governments to promote the well-being of the Nigerian child.
The UNICEF Country representative in Nigeria, Mr Peter Hawkins, stated this on Monday at Dutsi, Katsina State, during the flag-off ceremony of Maternal, New Born and Child Health Week Campaign, and Introduction of Meningitis vaccine (Men-A) into routine immunisation.
He said the collaboration is aimed at ensuring that the Nigerian child thrives and grow to his or her full potential.
“UNICEF and other development partners support states in ensuring that all routine immunisation frontline health workers have received the requisite training that will enable them to administer this vaccine safely and together with other vaccines.
“It is my hope that this flag off will serve as a milestone in the quest to ensure that children receive full protection against vaccine preventable diseases,” he said.
Hawkins, represented by the UNICEF acting Field Officer, Kano, Mr Oluniyi Oyedokun, explained that meningitis is an extremely distressing disease that causes significant loss of life, especially in countries location within the “meningitis belt”.
He said that almost all states in Nigeria, including Katsina state, fall within the meningitis belt.
Hawkins said that 1,321 cases of meningitis were recorded across the 34 local government areas of the state in 2018.
The UNICEF official also stressed the importance of routine immunisation in preventing child killer diseases.
The Chairman, Katsina State Primary Health Care Development Agency, Dr Shamsuddeen Yahya, said that 2 million children and 400,000 women were being targeted for the exercise.
He explained that the vaccine is free of charge given to children from nine to 11 months.
Yahya said that 1,083 health facilities were selected for the exercise across the state.
He urged parents to present their children for the vaccination.