Nigeria is to vaccinate 31 million children in 11 high-risk states and seven others in the northern part of the country this month, health officials have said.The exercise is scheduled for October 15-18 and October 29 to November 1.
The Acting Executive Director at the National Primary Healthcare Development Agency (NPHCDA), Dr. Emmanuel Odu, said in Abuja at the weekend that the bivalent oral polio vaccine (bOPV) would be administered in line with global practice.
Cameroun, Chad, Niger and Central Africa Republic are also expected to commence the exercise on the same dates with Nigeria in line with the recent agreements of a Lake Chad Basin Committee established by the five countries.
He disclosed that members of the armed forces had been engaged in the planning, implementation and monitoring of campaigns and strategies for the exercise in inaccessible and liberated communities.
The national immunisation days vaccination round is expected to take place from November 19 to 22.Besides, about 80 health workers in Borno State have been trained by the World Health Organisation (WHO) on disease “surveillance, alert and response initiatives” for early detection and control of diseases outbreaks, particularly in emergency situations.
WHO Acting Country Representative in Nigeria, Dr. Rex Mpazanje disclosed this at the weekend after the training organised for 80 health professionals in the border town of Monguno.
The exercise was aimed at establishing an Early Warning Alert and Response System (EWARS) in areas currently facing humanitarian challenges caused by insurgency.
He said more health personnel had been trained on how to identify early signs of diseases and containment of outbreaks in five “partially accessible” local councils of Maiduguri, Jere, Konduga, Mafa and Kaga.
According to him, the five councils have 16 camps for about 1.2 million Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs).The State Commissioner for Health, Dr. Haruna Mshelia, said the government welcomes WHO’s support “to build capacity of its health workers for early detection of epidemic-prone diseases.”
The Executive Director, Borno Primary Health Care Development Agency (PHCDA), Dr. Sule Mele, who represented the state Health Commissioner, Dr. Harun Mshelia, lauded WHO’s efforts.
He also urged participants to make use of the training for the benefit of the people, especially the displaced persons.
“We are grateful to the WHO for this assistance, which will improve on the capacity of our health system to detect and respond to any health threat and close existing gaps,” said Mele.