Following seven cases of polio virus disease in Makoko, Itire and Maracana Canals of Lagos State, its ministry of health said it has started the second round of vaccination camapgin across the state as part of efforts to prevent it.
Speaking at a media stakeholders sensitisation training on Second Round of 2019 Polio Vaccination Campaign in Lagos State recently, organised by its ministry of health in collaboration with the United Nations Children Fund (UNICEF), the Incident Manager, National Primary Health Care Development Agency (NPHCDA), Dr. Usman Adamu noted that polio can be totally eradicated by advocacy, education and campaign across all levels.
Adamu said the incidences of polio can be related to parents not aware of polio, gated communities denying immunisation teams entry access and schools refusing the teams entry as requested by parents.
He said: “Polio virus can easily spread to children less than five years in low immunity population due to low vaccination update. There is need to respond to avoid risk of cross border transmission and the need to avoid risk of further spread during high transmission season (rainy season).
“Advocacy, stakeholders’ engagement, media engagement, community engagement, capacity building, message development, information and crisis management, are the basic tools to ensure the message of polio get to everyone across all level.
“Why we need to collaborate with the media is that it’s the trustworthy source of information that the people of Lagos rely on. So, we need the media for possible support in terms of dissemination of correct facts and messages through various media outlets.
“Evidence from date from last polio campaign revealed that some children are not vaccinated because of estate and gated communities refusing entry of immunisation teams.
“As a matter of fact, from information gathered, many parents claimed not to have heard about immunisation campaign. Some schools also refused entry of immunisation teams which is usually at the request of the parents.”
Permanent Secretary, Primary Healthcare, Lagos State, Dr. Tayo lawal, said the Lagos State Governor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu’s administration has prioritised health and environment, thus, ensuring residents access quality healthcare, especially child healthcare.
On polio, he emphasised that the only way to prevent it was through oral vaccination as he urged caregivers, parents, community leaders and stakeholders to ensure their children are vaccinated, immunised and abstain from unhygienic environment.
“It is very important to know that one of the primary focuses of this present administration is health and environment. Polio is a viral disease that is yet to be eradicated in Nigeria.
“It’s important we kick polio out of Nigeria. It’s highly contagious through poor environment hygiene. An infected child can develop; pain in the lips, fever, weakness and other sicknesses.
“The only way of preventing polio is through oral vaccination. We need to engage in community dialogues, town announcement and other various ways of creating awareness about polio at all levels.
“The polio campaign will also involve house-to-house, market places, churches, mosques, social events, will be targeted.
“Oral polio vaccination will be given to children from ages 0 to 59 months regardless of their immunisation status. And also, encourage households to take their children for immunisation.
“My appeal goes to caregivers to ensure that child from five years and below be given the polio vaccination, the service is free. The responsibility is not on caregivers alone but on everybody. It’s a way of preventing our children from vaccine preventable disease” he said.
The Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Health, Lagos State, Dr. Titilayo Goncalves lauded the efforts of private partners and supporters of Lagos State Ministry of health and harped on prevention of polio virus.
“Prevention is better than cure and we cannot overemphasise the effort of our partners. I appreciate every one of them. There is no gainsaying that child health is very important. The governor of Lagos state is working tirelessly to ensure every child access quality healthcare” she said.
Meanwhile, during the training, Rotary club international presented 2000 crested aprons to the Lagos State Ministry of Health as a way of partnership in the campaign against polio.