About 1.7 million children are to be immunised against the spread of measles in Borno State, the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), has said.
According to a statement by UNICEF’s Communication Specialist, Borno Field Office, Eva Hinds, said the five-day exercise would be conducted between March 21 and March 25 in Maiduguri metropolis.
Hinds noted that the exercise would be conducted in two phases, adding that the first phase would cover Maiduguri metropolis, while the second phase would be conducted in 12 Local Government Areas of the state.
According to him, measles vaccines will be administered free in places of worship, villages, Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) camps and health facilities.
He said that the exercise would target under-10 children in high-risk areas, irrespective of their previous measles vaccination status.
Hinds said that Nigeria 2017 Demographic Health Survey showed that only 65 per cent of eligible children received their first dose of measles vaccine every year.
The low coverage led to the death of 13 children in the present measles outbreak in the state
“Following growing number of reported cases of measles, the Government of Nigeria, in collaboration with UNICEF and World Health Organisation (WHO) will conduct vaccination campaign in Borno.
“The aim is to protect 1.7 million children aged between six months and 10-years against measles.
“UNICEF will continue to support the Government of Nigeria to reach every child with the measles vaccines.
“I, therefore, urged everyone to ensure that all eligible children access the vaccines during the campaign period,” Geoffrey Ijumba, the Chief, UNICEF Borno Field Office was quoted as saying in the statement.
According to Babagana Adiso, the Director, Disease Control, Borno State Primary Healthcare Agency, immunisation remains one of the most effective ways to protect children from killer diseases.
“The campaign gives us the opportunity to protect the lives of children at risk of missing out on routine immunisation in Borno,” the director said.
WHO Coordinator in Borno, Dr Audu Idawo was quoted as saying “in spite of the availability of safe and effective vaccines, Nigeria accounts for the highest burden of measles globally, with 3.3 million children not immunised”.