By Abuchi Onwumelu
The Anambra State Government, through the State ministry of Health, has flagged off the first round of the National Immunization Plus Days with a call on Anambrarians to support the exercise.
The programme, which targeted one point four million children, was held at the Primary Health Centre, Enugwu-Agidi, Njikoka LGA, and attracted the Governor of Anambra State, Chief Willie Obiano, who was represented by the State Commissioner for Health, Dr Vincent Okpala.
By the official flag off, the immunization scheduled to commence on the twentieth and end on the twenty-third of July, 2019 was targeted at children of zero to fifty-nine months.
The National Immunization Plus Days was set aside to strengthen the fight against Polio in Nigeria and increased acceptability of Oral Polio Vaccine, to help reduce the burden of vaccine preventable diseases in a bid to sustain the eradication of Polio.
Dr. Okpala urged mothers, caregivers and other stakeholders, to bring out their children to partake in the exercise; even those immunized last year.
While pointing out that the target for this year was to immunize one point four million children of the affected age bracket, Dr Okpala explained that the exercise would get to all parts of the state, including homes, churches, schools and other public places.
In a speech, the Executive Secretary and Chief Executive Officer of Anambra State Primary Health Care Development Agency, Dr Chioma Ezenyimulu, noted that the exercise encouraged the search for acute flaccid paralysis in children, zero to fifteen years of age, who suddenly developed weakness of the limbs.
She added that Anambra had achieved ninety and ninety six percent Measles Vaccination Campaign and routine immunization from the last national survey, bringing her to the first position in the country.
Dr Ezenyimulu maintained that Anambra had not recorded any case of Wild Polio Virus for more than fourteen years due to her keen participation in activities aimed at sustaining the interruption of Polio transmission.
A UNICEF Consultant, Mr Felix Okocha, who spoke on behalf of other development partners in the state, said the programme showed the visibility of the Anambra Government to ensure quality healthcare and assured continued support in the fight against Polio in the state.
Earlier, the President General of Enugwu-Agidi Development Union, Mr Chidi Okoye, described the choice of Enugwu-Agidi for the Flag off as a new dawn of positive relationship between their community and the state, appealing to the State Government to commission the International Timber and Building Materials Market, and relocate congested markets causing obstruction to the market, which, he said, had approximately two thousand shops with necessary facilities.
Present at the event were the Chairman Board of Directors, Anambra State Primary Healthcare Development Agency, Dr. Joseph Ogbuagu; Transition Committee Chairman for Njikoka Council Area, Hon. George Ozo, among others.
A symbolic vaccination of children, distribution of free nets, and other items, as well as traditional dance performance, featured at the event.