The federal government has earmarked N3.5 billion for the 2017/2018 national vaccination campaign against measles. Minister of State for Health, Dr. Osagie Ehanire, disclosed this Tuesday while flagging off of the campaign at the Miyetti Allah Primary Health Care Centre, Rigassa, Igabi Local Government Area of Kaduna State. The minister said the programme targets at 33 million children across the country. Represented by the Executive Director, National Primary Health Care Development Agency (NPHCDA), Dr. Faisal Shuaib, the minister noted that measles constitutes a challenge as Nigeria accounted for the highest burden of measles globally with 3.3 million children that are not immunised. According to him, “This is due to persistently low routine measles immunisation coverage and the fact that several measles supplemental immunisation campaigns conducted to provide a second opportunity to reach unimmunised children has failed to achieve the required 95 per cent coverage.” He said the low level of was population immunity for measles was responsible for frequent outbreak of the disease across the country. The minister expressed confidence that the 2017/2018 campaign would be different going by the high quality preparation and financial commitment by all levels of government. “It is therefore imperative that all stakeholders support the campaign with time, material and financial resources to meet the targeted 33 million children within the period,” the minister said. Ehanire further stated that the agency was working with development partners to achieve high quality and effective vaccination during the campaign. He urged the development partners, the media and other stakeholders to support the campaign to ensure that measles is eradicated within record time in the country. Enahire commended religious and traditional rulers for their continuous support for the campaign for the eradication of the diseases in the country and urged them to support the agency in the campaign for the eradication of measles. Earlier, the Kaduna State Governor, Mallam Nasiru El-Rufai, said the state government targeting was about 1.5 million children for the campaign expected to last six days beginning from Thursday in the North west zone. Represented by his deputy, Barnabas Bala Bantex, the governor said the health sector was among the top priorities of his administration. He said the state government had embarked on the upgrading of 255 primary health care centres across the state in addition to other health care delivery services. El-rufai urged parents and health care givers to sustain the efforts to eradicate the menace, assuring them that the vaccines were safe. The governor, through his wife, Hajiya Aisha, presented three of their children for the vaccination to convince the people that the vaccines are harmless.

 

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