Oyo State government says it is set to immunize at least one million two hundred and thirty-four thousand children aged five to 59 months against measles and other vaccine-preventable childhood diseases to reduce mortality and morbidity in children across the state.
Executive Secretary, of Oyo State Primary Health Care Board, Dr. Muideen Olatunji, who disclosed this at a media parley in Ibadan, said the integrated measles campaign in its first phase will take place in 17 local government areas starting on Thursday, and that its second phase in the remaining 16 local government areas will start on 30th October.
Dr. Olatunji, who was represented by the Director of Public Health of the board, Dr. Johnson Osoko, explained that the exercise would integrate other vaccines, including the polio vaccine, and vitamin A supplement among others, and assured that the vaccines are completely safe to be administered.
He declared that the inclusion of other health interventions in the vaccination exercise was to maximize the opportunity of ensuring that children assess different health interventions that they need, reduce the cost of accessing healthcare services, and make healthcare services convenient and comfortable for mothers and other caregivers for children.
Dr Olatunji who enjoined the media to educate the masses on the benefits of immunization, particularly measles vaccination, stated that the campaign was the government’s gesture to protect children from childhood killer diseases.
The World Health Organisation Oyo State office representative, Dr. Bukola Olawale, stated that measles is a highly contagious viral infection that can be curbed through vaccination, and that the campaign is also expected to help increase the effectiveness and efficiency of health care services at the primary health care level.
In his remark, the Programme Manager of Oyo State Emergency Routine Immunization Coordination Centre, Dr Adeyemi Adewole, stated that outbreaks of measles had persisted despite investments in mass vaccination campaigns.
According to him, measles and other vaccines that children will take during the exercise will further boost their immunity.
He added, “We don’t expect any reaction in these children; each of the vaccines can be co-administered safely. We don’t expect any untoward side effects from the vaccination.
“Children that took the measles vaccine less than four weeks ago are not supposed to take it. Even children whose mothers thought had measles in the past should still take the vaccine to further boost their body immunity.”
In their various goodwill messages, representatives from the National Primary Health Care Development Agency (NPHCDA), UNICEF, and other partners were unanimous in harping on the need for collaboration to ensure a reduction in infant mortality and morbidity rate in the state.