YBy Alex Uangbaoje, Sokoto
Residents of Sokoto communities were on frenzy on Thursday as Sokoto State Government and the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) flagged off the Meningitis Vaccination Campaign to curb the current outbreak that has seen state recording over 179 deaths, mostly children in the state.
While declaring the campaign open in Dange Local Government Area (LGA), the state Commissioner for Health, Dr. Balarabe Shehu, vowed that he and his entire team will work tirelessly in the next five day to ensure that the exercise achieves its desired goal.
“We are going to be working day and night in the next few days to make sure that this exercise is a success.
Sokoto State Commissioner for Health, Dr. Balarabe Shehu, administering Meningitis Vaccine to little Fatima
“As we work, we are going to be meeting regularly with those in the field to review what is happening to see if there are challenges until we achieve success.”
He disclosed that, “as at today the scourge is coming down gradually and that is why we are going into the second phase of the fight against Meningitis which is vaccination, where 850,000 Doses of vaccines the best of its kind being brought to Sokoto which has the advantage of giving immunity up to ten years and also has the ability to eliminate the carrier status.
“We want to thank the Executive Governor of Sokoto state for the hard work he has put in and his commitment for going the extra mile to provide all the large quantities of vaccines for Sokoto state, the highest anywhere in the country so that we can contain Meningitis.”
Dr. Shehu, urged the people to continue to maintain hygienic lifestyle and lead a healthy lifestyle that will guarantee them good health.
He added, “today is a happy day for the people of Sokoto state and Nigeria as a whole, since the outbreak of this epidemic, the challenge has been the lack of vaccines for the type C, but today here we are administering the vaccines to our people courtesy our development partners, like UNICEF.
“I am telling you, in the whole wide world there is nowhere this type of vaccine is being administered to people, this vaccine will immune you against such bacteria for ten years. This vaccines is not meant for meningitis alone even other child killer diseases this vaccine is capable of protecting children against contacting such.
“We pray we will not be gathering for an event like this again, it is sad and we don’t wish to have some thing like this again in our life, the disease has really done a great damage and we pray from today we will not see a thing like this.
“But we cannot pray and wish all this, but we must adhere to the dual call of his excellency our Governor, Aminu Tambuwal of the need to always avail ourselves to the routine immunisation, that alone will help us an ensure some of this deadly diseases did not ravage our society let alone recording the number of death like what we saw with this meningitis.”
In his remarks at the occasion, Mr Rabiu Musa, UNICEF Communication officer, reiterated UNICEF’s commitment to continue to support the state in the outbreak response along with other development partners.
Rabiu added that, “It is a big concern that as at 25th April 2017, 3,086 cases were line listed with 179 deaths and children 1-20 years mostly affected.
“We shall remain resolute in supporting the state best possible and in accordance with our mandate in the context of social mobilization and vaccine security to contain the epidemic in Sokoto state”.
He therefore, used the occasion to appeal to parents and caregivers to avail their eligible children of 1 to 20 years of age to get vaccinated especially those from the 9 endemic local governments in the state.