By Alex Uangbaoje, Sokoto
In tandem with the flag-off of Meningitis campaign and vaccination in Sokoto State, the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) has urged communities in the State not to pay for Meningitis Vaccines noting that they have been paid for by UNICEF, Sokoto State Government and other donors.
Whilst responding to questions from group of mothers and caregivers during a community meeting at Gidan Dallatu in Tudun Wada ward of Sokoto South Local Government Area (LGA), Hajiya Fatima Bashir, Religious Focal Person for UNICEF, advised them not to give attention to anyone who will ask for money to administer the vaccine.
Fatima explained that the Vaccines have already been paid for so members of the communities can access the vaccines for free.
She encouraged them to fully participate in the upcoming meningitis vaccination campaign which will be flagged off this Thursday, adding that the Islamic religion is not against the vaccination.
On her part, Zalihat Haruna, a Volunteer Ward Supervisor (VWS), at Dahala ward 2, said the people are eagerly waiting for the commencement of the vaccination campaign.
According to her, since the commencement of the mobilisation exercise two weeks ago, the only thing the people are saying is “when you coming with the Vaccines.”
She expressed optimism that the effort put into the mobilisation of communities, the people will fully participate in the exercise.
Talking about their preparedness, Halima Muhammad, who spoke on behalf of other Volunteers Community Mobilizers, explained that in the last two weeks, she has reached about 343 households around Gagi C Ward in the LGA.
“Anytime they see us, they are always very excited to know when the Vaccines will be delivered to them. So even if the vaccination begins today we are set for it.
“The kind of training that we have received and the mobilisation materials that we are using makes our work very easy. Especially the use of the Speak Book which is helping us to communicate easily.” she added.
UNICEF and the state government in collaboration with the Sultanate Council Committee on Health are also deploying the services of all Traditional Leaders through the office of District Heads to support community mobilisation.
This according to analyst would significantly impact on the current mobilisation effort for the successful implementation of the meningitis campaign in Sokoto State.
A total of 876 VCMs are participating in the State, but 447 of them are the 9 implementing LGAs that has so far experienced the outbreak while the rest 429 from 14 non-implementing LGAs are engaged in intensive community sensitisation towards creating awareness on the prevention of the scourge.
The 9 implementing LGAs are Sokoto North, Sokoto South, Bodinga, Dange Shuni, Tureta, Isa, Gwadabawa, Goronyo and Rabah.