In its resolve to fight child-killer diseases, Imo State government sometime ago directed that all the over 600 primary health centres,PHCs, in the state would serve as centres for all primary healthcare activities in the state.
‘’The 600 health centres in the state will serve for the purpose of all primary healthcare activities, including routine immunisation, ante-natal, maternal and child care activities, including deliveries,” the government said.
According to the government, the epidemiological assessment had revealed that there had been reported cases of measles in Oguta, Oru West, Ohaji/Egbema, Oru East, Orlu and Ehime Mbano local council areas of the state The government was, however, irked that out of the the 37 cases reported in Oguta Local Government Area, five children died, while one out of the 45 cases in Oru West council area also died.
“These out-breaks were traceable to reduced immunity. It said for effective implementation of routine immunisation activities, the state government developed a policy to make it compulsory for all communities to own a health centre. Immunisation ensures that the child resists killer diseases,’’ it added. For every new born baby, there are certain drugs administered on the child to boost his or her immunity, and very important for ensuring the baby’s survival to adult age.
Immunisation is the process whereby a person is made immune or resistant to an infectious disease, typically by the administration of a vaccine. It stimulates the body’s own immune system to protect the person against subsequent infection or disease. Immunisation is a proven tool for life-threatening infectious diseases. However, beyond the actual act of administering the drug, there are silent intrigues that play out amongst the women, (who in this case are mothers to the infants) and the care-givers (this includes the nurses/midwives). Perhaps you always wonder what transpires at such gatherings.
For new mothers, immunisation is a new experience. They normally arrive early to ensure they do not miss out on any vital detail and this is where the drama begins. On arrival at the health centre, grading of each participant begins, without any spoken word! Ideally, immunisation is only handled at the primary health centres and hospitals that handle child deliveries and can administer drugs to at least 10 infants to avoid wasting of drugs.
For most new mothers (Primid) the norm is to stay at home for about three months, in an ideal situation, especially among the Igbo. For such women, all they do is stay home, learn the ropes on balancing their acts as wives and mothers, nurse their newborns (especially in this area of giving the baby only breast milk for six months; a term popularly called exclusive breast-feeding, and or being baby-friendly).