By Chukwudi Nwauba and Nnedinma Okeke
The Anambra State Government, through the Ministry of Health has appealed to the public to make their children available to receive the Polio Vaccine during the immunization exercise ongoing across the State.
The state’s Commissioner for Health,Dr. Afam Obidike, who made the appeal during a press conference in Awka, to flag off the Polio Immunization campaign, reiterated Gov. Charles Soludo’s firm commitment in tackling health related issues in the state.
“The Polio Vaccination starts on Saturday, 11th November to end Tuesday, 14th November, 2023.
“We are commencing the polio vaccination for children in order to check the spread of the virus from neighboring state, Enugu State.”
The commissioner explained that the exercise is being implemented by the state’s Primary Health Care Development Agency in partnership with the World Health Organization (WHO), United Nations Children Fund (UNICEF), Syndani Group and National Primary Healthcare Development.
According to him, “this is the second phase of the exercise following the first phase undertaken between September 16 and 19, 2023, during which 2.3 million children under the age of 0-59 months were vaccinated.
“This second phase of vaccination was in response to the outbreak of the polio virus in a neighbouring town, Nkanu West, in Enugu State.
“We encourage parents and caregivers to present their children to be immunized so as to strengthen their immunity against the virus.
“We are also integrating routine immunization during this four-day exercise, as well as birth registration for children to help the state government with data to plan for their healthcare.
“So, it is an all-encompassing campaign. The vaccines are safe and free of charge. We are hopeful that the campaign will be as successful as we had in the first phase.
“The media should help us disseminate the news so that people can understand the need to vaccinate their children against the disease. Vaccinated children live healthy and longer,” he said.
The commissioner urged residents to report any health worker who demand money to administer the vaccines.
State Coordinator, WHO, Dr. Adamu Abdul-Nasir, congratulated Anambra for exceeding the target and recording top in the South-East in the first phase of the vaccination exercise.
Dr. Abdul-Nasir said, “we want to commend the state government for its political will and proactive measures in preventing the polio virus from spreading to the state.
“In this second phase, WHO is supporting the state with logistics and allowances for over 9,000 personnel who will be going to homes, churches, markets, streets and schools to administer the vaccine.
“We are also supporting hard-to-reach communities to ensure that all eligible children are vaccinated.”
Earlier, the Executive Secretary, Anambra State Primary Health Care Development Agency (ASPHCDA), Pharmacist Chisom Uchem said the state had taken delivery of over two million doses of the polio vaccine for the OBR-II campaign.
Pharm Uchem said the vaccination would start on Saturday, November 11 and end on November 14 across the 21 local government areas of the state.
“These few days, we will go all out to the nooks and crannies of the state to strengthen and surpass what we recorded in the first phase of the vaccination,” she said.
Nwauba , Okeke are of the Ministry of Information, Anambra State.