I felt very happy when my two children under the age of 5 years came home with the measles and meningitis vaccination cards (a proof of them being vaccinated). I am also relieved because it didn’t cost me a dime to protect my children against these diseases says Mrs Mohammed Saidu of Ilorin South Local Government Area (LGA), Kwara State.
I am looking forward to see more of these campaigns in the future, it gives me great joy and confidence that my community will be protected against deadly diseases such as measles and meningitis, she added.
Mrs Mohammed is one of the millions of women whose children benefited from the just concluded measles and meningitis campaign in high risk states across Nigeria. The Nigerian Government through the National Primary Health Care Development Agency (NPHCDA), with support of the World Health Organization (WHO), Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance, UNICEF and other partners, has reached over 18 million children with Meningitis A (Men A conjugate vaccine) and measles containing vaccine in 15 States of Nigeria. The campaign which was launched in November 2019 combined Men A and measles Supplemental Immunization Activities (SIA) in 17 Northern States, and stand-alone measles and Men A SIAs in additional high risk states. The campaign was undertaken in an effort to offer lifesaving vaccines to boost immunity of children against measles and meningitis.
“Measles and meningitis vaccines remain the most cost-effective preventive measure against the diseases and WHO is committed to supporting the Nigerian government in reaching every eligible child in the country with the needed vaccines, irrespective of their location,” said Dr Fiona Braka, WHO Nigeria’s Team Lead of the Expanded Programme on Immunization (EPI).
Measles has been a significant cause of death among young children globally, despite the availability of a safe and effective vaccine. Cerebrospinal meningitis (CSM) is a highly contagious life-threatening disease with a predilection for seasonal epidemics across many African countries, making it a major public health issue. In Nigeria, all States in the northern part of the country as well as 6 States in the southern part of the country are located in the Africa Meningitis Belt.
Dr Joseph Oteri, Director of Disease Control and Immunization with NPHCDA underlined that we are glad to have reached over 18 million children in the 15 States, there is more compliance from the caregivers and the community. People are more aware of the consequences and therefore seek immunization willingly.
With Kogi and Niger States yet to implement any of the campaigns, we are looking forward to reaching more eligible children within the states and that means more success in the vaccination, The measles campaign was made possible with financial support from Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance. Created in 2000, Gavi brings together public and private sectors with the shared goal of creating equal access to new and underused vaccines for children living in the world’s poorest countries.
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Source: World Health Organization