I wish to commend the Federal Capital Territory Administration (FCTA) for the recent immunization campaign it carried out to tackle the scourge of measles in the FCT. According to the World Health Organization report, Nigeria tops the list of countries with unvaccinated children from measles with 3.3 million children, followed by India with 2.9 million, Pakistan 2 million, Indonesia 1.2 million and Ethiopia .9 million which is trailed by the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).
This immunization exercise is therefore very apt because it is the only way to give children of FCT full protection against measles, which is a very deadly disease that could lead to complications, especially considering the unending influx of people into the FCT.
FCTA headed by Malam Muhammad Musa Bello from February 10 – 22, 2018 commenced the vaccination of children ages 9 months and 5 years against measles disease which lasted till February, 2018. The campaign had a wide reaching effect, having taken place in all the 62 wards of the territory, with an estimated 620, 000 children targeted for vaccination within the period. It covered schools, housing estates, places of worship and other places, to ensure that no child was missed out.
A total of 3,998 settlements were earmarked, while 1171 vaccination teams and 185 special teams were expected to work in 269 fixed posts and 2078 temporary posts, according to the acting executive secretary, FCT Primary Health Care Board (FCT-PHCB), Dr Matthew Ashikeni
To quash the misgivings that some parents had in the past been against the immunization exercise which made them to withhold their children from health officials, the FCT Administration took time to sensitize, moblise, educate the people of the FCT that the immunization exercise was protective, safe and free. Area council chairmen as well as royal fathers were also involved to give the exercise the desired credibility and eliminate doubts in the minds of residents. They were personally involved in supporting and supervising the measles vaccination campaign.
All of these are attestations that the Muhammad Bello’s FCT Administration places high priority on the goal of measles elimination in Nigeria, particularly in expanding immunisation services to the rural communities.
There is, however, the need for the Area Council chairmen to ensure the release of Area Council counterpart funds, at least two weeks prior to any immunization campaigns and every three months for routine immunisation. Royal fathers, religious leaders, managers of estates and nursery/primary schools, as well as all stakeholders in the FCT, must also continue to support the administration to provide better health for all residents.
All traditional rulers and parents must join the administration in ensuring the success of immunization against polio and measles. Traditional rulers and other stakeholders must be on the same page to eradicate these diseases in our society.
The councillors, district heads, religious leaders, ward focal persons, market women leaders, youth leaders, National Orientation Agency (NOA) and other Nigerians, residing within the FCT need to put all hands on deck to achieve a measles and polio free generation. There is dire need for total synergy among all of us in order to join the fight against immunization in the society.
Lastly, it is also worthy to commend the FCT Administration for the effective way it handled the recent cases of death of school pupils of the Local Education Authority (LEA), Kubwa II Primary School. Officials of the FCT Health Secretariat in the wake of confusing and misleading speculations had moved swiftly to dispel rumours that these kids died of food poisoning.
Contrary to what was being speculated, the officials were able to examine and confirm that these children actually died of meningitis and not the so-called birthday biscuit. Even parents of the diseased have also attested to this fact through the accounts they gave in the aftermath of these deaths which have been deemed to be consistent with the symptoms of meningitis.
Gudu District, Abuja