FCTA targets 1.2m children, 318,604 women for polio vaccines, intensifies case search for diphtheria

A total number of 1,274,417 under-5 (0-59 months old) children and 318,604 of pregnant women in Abuja, the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), are projected beneficiaries of the ongoing National Immunisation-Plus Days (NIPDs) for polio, integrated with optimised Maternal, Newborn and Child Health Week (MNCHW).

Making this disclosure during a media orientation and sensitisation on the exercise weekend, Acting Executive Secretary, Primary Health Care Board (PHCB) of the FCT Administration (FCTA), Dr. Yakubu Mohammed, said the delivery route remains through health facilities and outreach teams visiting communities in the Territory.

Mohammed also disclosed that the throughout the weeklong exercise, the FCTA is intensifying Active Case Search (ACS) for diphtheria, as a proactive measure to make sure it is under control in the Territory.

He said prior to the exercise, there was mobilization and sensitisation efforts across various communities where targeted beneficiaries will accessed the team of qualified healthcare workers deployed for the interventions.

Recalling that Nigeria was certified polio free in August 2020, he said however, in order to keep up with the zero transmission and zero polio-status in the country, there is need to continuously reach out to the target population of children between the age of 0-49 months with this potent oral polio vaccines.

“This becomes more necessary, because there are countries circulating the polio variations that undergo mutation, and if care is not taken, it care is not taken it could transform and become a wild polio virus type, which means it could herald an outbreak. So, this informed the decision by the national programme being coordinated by the National Primary Healthcare Development Agency (NPHDA) under the Federal Ministry of Health based on an advice by the expert review committee, in order to ensure we do not take chances, that will reverse the gains of the wipe off of polio.

“Our target for this exercise is 1,274,417 under-5 (0-59 months old) children in the FCT. Also, we are reaching out to 1,401, 858 women of child-bearing age (between 15-45 years), out of which 318,604 are projected number of pregnant women. So we intend to reach out to them, during this week-long exercise.

“The delivery route will be through health facilities and outreach teams. We have 257 primary healthcare facilities in FCT, 14 secondary healthcare facilities under the FCT Administration and 15 secondary healthcare facilities owned by other ministries, department and agencies as well 3 tertiary healthcare facilities, all in FCT.

“All the intervention packages will be provided to the targeted beneficiaries at these fixed posts and other outreach teams, which will be moving to communities (these include: schools, markets, village squares, traditional leaders house, worship centres and wherever a camp can be formed),” he said.

On available incentives to encourage participation, the FCT PHCB boss said : “we are hopeful that working with partners, perhaps as we run through the exercise, there could be additional things added to the package.

“We have engaged various vaccination teams and supervisors for the exercise, through intensive training on the rudiment of oral polio vaccines, administration of vitamin A and other things inside the package of these interventions, and we are confident that the various vaccination teams we uphold best practices.”

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