A second dose of Measles Containing Vaccine MCV2, has been introduced to the National Routine Immunisation schedule.
The Executive Director, Delta State Primary Health Care Development Agency, DSPHCDA, Dr Jude Winful – Orieke, disclosed this on Tuesday in Asaba at a stakeholders’ meeting on how to ensure the success of the programme in Delta state.
Dr Winful – Orieke, who was represented by the Agency’s Director of Planning, Research and Statistics, Dr Gloria Patrick – Ferife, said the exercise which would take place on November 14 through 19, 2019, was introduced by the National Primary Health Care Development Agency following an observation that some children came down with measles after Dose One of the Measles Vaccine administered at the age of nine months.
He said the Immunisation exercise would be for children aged between 15 and 23 months, and would take place in the 440 Primary Health Care Centres across the state, urging the stakeholders to sensitize mothers in markets, churches and mosques to present their children for vaccination.
The Executive Director said the meeting was meant to strategize on how to reach out to mothers, through the relevant stakeholders, to ensure that the set target was achieved.
The UNICEF Communication Officer in the state, Evelyn Joseph, said effective advocacy, communication and social mobilization was key to the success of the MCV2.
This, she explained, was because political will was required to ensure acceptability of vaccination for older children and the fact that most caregivers would not present their children beyond nine months old for vaccination at the Primary Health Care Centres
Evelyn Joseph stated that the target age group for routine Immunisation would change from 0 to 9 months to 0 to 23 months, adding that the change needed to be communicated to all relevant parties for community mobilization and subsequent uptake of vaccines within the new target age group.
For her part, the State Health Educator, Mrs Ijeoma Popo, said Measles was an acute and highly infectious disease, known to be one of the leading causes of morbidity and mortality among children under 5 years of age.
Mrs Popo said globally an estimated 246 children died every day from measles, with the majority coming from Africa, while Nigeria had an annual record of 17,000 cases, with a death rate of between 1.9 percent and 12.4 percent.
The State Health Educator pointed out that immunization had resulted in 84 percent reduction in measles related deaths from the year 2000 to 2016, stressing that the introduced Dose 2 would further protect children aged 0 to 23 months from measles attack.
She allayed fears of reaction to the vaccine, insisting that the reaction was nothing compared to the complications that not being immunized could cause, including deafness, blindness, pneumonia and death.