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Tackling measles in the FCT

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Protect your child from measles this OctoberI wish to commend the FCT Administration for the recent immunization campaign it carried out in the city centre and area councils to tackle the scourge of measles in the FCT. This campaign couldn’t have come at a better time than now when Nigeria is ranked as the country with the most unvaccinated children against measles, followed by India.

According to the United Nations World Health Organization report, Nigeria tops the list of countries with unvaccinated children from measles, with 3.3 million children, followed by India with 2.9 million, Pakistan – 2.0 million, Indonesia – 1.2 million and Ethiopia – 0.9 million, which is trailed by the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).

This immunisation exercise is therefore very apt because it is the only way to give the children of FCT full protection against measles, which is a very deadly disease that could lead to complications, especially considering the unending influx of people into the FCT.

As it happened, the Administration, headed by Mallam Muhammad Musa Bello, on February 10, 2018, commenced the vaccination of children between the ages of 9 months and 5 years, in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), against measles disease, which lasted till February 22, 2018.

The campaign had a wide reaching effect, having taken place in all the 62 wards of the territory, with an estimated 620, 000 children targeted for vaccination within the period. It covered schools, housing estates, places of worship and other places, to ensure that no child was left out.

A total of 3,998 settlements were earmarked, while 1,171 vaccination teams and 185 special teams were expected to work in 269 fixed posts and 2,078 temporary posts, according to the acting executive secretary, FCT Primary Health Care Board (FCT-PHCB), Dr Matthew Ashikeni

To quash the misgivings that some parents had in the past against the immunisation exercise which made them to withhold their children from health officials, the FCT Administration took time to sensitise, moblise, educate the people of the FCT that the immunisation exercise was protective, safe and free. Area Council chairmen, as well as royal fathers, were also involved to give the exercise the desired credibility and eliminate doubts in the minds of residents. They were personally involved in supporting and supervising the measles vaccination campaign.

There is, however, the need for the Area Council chairmen to ensure the release of Area Council counterpart funds, at least, two weeks prior to any immunisation campaigns, and every three months, for routine immunisation. Royal fathers, religious leaders, managers of estates and nursery/primary schools, as well as all stakeholders in the FCT, must also continue to support the administration to provide better health for all residents.

All traditional rulers and parents must join the Administration in ensuring the success of immunisation against polio and measles. Traditional rulers and other stakeholders must be on the same page to eradicate thise disease in our society.

The councillors, district heads, religious leaders, ward focal persons, market women leaders, youth leaders, National Orientation Agency (NOA) and other Nigerians, residing within the FCT need to put all hands on deck to achieve a measles and polio-free generation. There is dire need for total synergy among all of us in order to join the fight against measles in the society.

 Danladi Akilu,

Gudu District, Abuja


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