Health workers are to vaccinate at least 33 million children aged between nine months and five years against measles in a campaign starting this October, the National Primary Health Care Development Agency (NPHCDA) has announced. Parents and caregivers are advised to take children to government health facilities and vaccination posts sites where health workers can administer the vaccine. The push is to ensure nearly 95% out of every 100 children are vaccinated. Previous campaign in 2015 managed to reach just 85 in 100 children. Children born after the last measles campaign from 2013 to 2016-and who have never received routine immunisation-are now more at risk of contracting measles, the agency warned. The agency says there has been upsurge in outbreaks of measles since then, with 183 outbreaks recorded in 2016, up from 166 in 2015. This year alone, up to 16,343 cases of measles have been recorded and 108 confirmed in laboratory testing across 717 council,  nearly every local government area has had a case of measles, according to Joseph Oteri, chair of a committee on measles vaccination at NPHCDA. The campaign’s first phase begins October 26 in northwestern states-Jigawa, Kaduna, Kano, Katsina, Kebbi, Sokoto, Zamfara. It moves to the north east on November 30, north central February 1 next year and then all southern states on March 8. “The north has up to 100 or between 51 and 100 per million,” said Oteri, citing the prevalence of measles. “South has under five per million. The ultimate goal is to be under one [per million].” The campaign starting October is the first time the agency will use geographical information systems to map populations targeted for vaccination. Previous campaigns have been based on the 2006 census. Federal government has released its own counterpart N3.5 billion to fund the campaign-and state governors agreed to channel their part funding through individual state primary health care boards. With the campaign less than 40 days away, only Kebbi has paid in full among northwestern states. Kano state government paid N9 million out of more than N50 million, leaving local governments to pay the balance, said NPHCDA executive director Faisal Shuaib. Borno, Imo and Nasarawa have also paid in full.

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