The federal government yesterday flagged off immunisation campaign against measles, with 33 million children under the age of five targeted for vaccination across the country, the Minister of State for Health, Dr. Osagie Ehanire, has said.
Speaking shortly after Governor Nasir el-Rufai of Kaduna state flagged-off the campaign at the Miyetti Allah Primary Health Care Centre, Rigasa, Kaduna, the minister, who was represented by the Executive Director/CEO, National Primary Health Care Development Agency, Dr Faisal Shuaib, said money had been earmarked for the programme by the federal government with state governments expected to weigh in with their counterpart funding.
He was represented by the Executive Director, National Primary Healthcare Development Agency (NPHCDA), Dr. Faisal Shuaib.
The minister said the early release of fund for the programme has enabled the ministry to make adequate preparation for the success of the vaccination between now and early 2018.
“Measles is one of the leading causes of death among young children especially those under five years of age. Despite the availability of safe and effective vaccines, Nigeria accounts for the highest burden of measles globally with 3.3 million unimmunized children.
“The sum of N3.5 billion was earmarked for this measles vaccination campaign across the country. But N2.5 billion has been released to enable us adequately prepare for the exercise and that is a signal that, the exercise will be a huge success. We are here in Kaduna flagging-off the campaign for the North-west. For this zone, it will run between Thursday, 9th and Wednesday, 15th November, while we have stagger campaign in the other zones between now and 2018,” he said.
Declaring the exercise open, Governor el-Rufai, who was represented by the Deputy, Governor, Arch. Barnabas Bala Bantex, said 1,498,332 children in the state are expected to be vaccinated during the one week exercise.
El-Rufai reiterated the commitment of his administration towards provision of quality healthcare services to the people of the state as evident in prompt release of N38, 402,675 as counterpart funding from the state for the exercise.
“I want to use this medium to appeal to our people to join us in this campaign by availing their children for the exercise because it is a collective action towards survival of our children. The vaccines have been certified okay by WHO and NAFDAC which means, they are safe for the children.”