NPHCDA launches massive onslaught against measles
To vaccinate 33 million children
Establishes National Measles Technical Committee to ensure adequate preparation
Some states may miss campaign for non-payment of counterpart funds.
The National Primary Health Care Development Agency (NPHCDA) has launched a nationwide campaign against measles that will result in the vaccination of no fewer than 33 million children, aged between nine months and five year, from October.
Already, the agency has established a technical committee to oversee the campaign and ensure adequate preparation. According to the NPCDA Executive Director, Dr. Faisal Shuaib, the campaign kicks off on October 26 in the North West states of Jigawa, Kaduna, Kano, Katsina, Kebbi, Sokoto and Zamfara.
The campaign is expected to move to the North East on November 30 – December 5 and the North Central on February 1 -6, 2018, before moving to the southern states on March 8 – 13, 2018.
The National Measles Technical Coordinating Committee commenced its mobilisation and sensitisation activities this week with a sensitization forum in Abuja on Wednesday for religious leaders in the Northern states.
In an overview of the planned campaign, the Chairman of the committee, Dr. Joseph Oteri told participanrs that the goal of tbe campaign is to raise vaccination covetage to 95% from the current level of 85%.
According to him, there has been an upsurge in outbreaks of measles in some parts the country with 183 outbreaks recorded in 2016 against 166 in 2015.
This year alone, he further said, no fewer than 16,343 cases have been recorded with 108 confirmed in laboratory testing across 717 council areas. This, he said, shows that nearly every local government area has had a case of measles within that period,
Also at a media briefing, the NPHCDA Executive Director, Dr. Faisal Shuaib disclosed that the agency had met with the Nigerian Governors’ Forum to help mobilise the states to pay up their counterpart funds towards the campaign.
“Kebbi, Borno, Nasarawa and Imo states have fully released counterpart funding into a dedicated account. Kano state has (also) partially released their counterpart funds for the activity.
“States that do not release their funds by September 15, 2017 would be stepped down from participation in the next measles campaign, because we cannot continue to have poor quality campaign in this country that leave our children susceptible to measles infections and deaths,” he declared.
Dr. Shuaib described measles as a leading cause of death among young children, especially among under-5 children.
“The high burden of deaths from measles is in spite of the availability of safe and effective vaccines through our Routine Immunisation (RI) system. Despite successes achieved in the reduction of measles-related morbidity and mortality through various intervention, Nigeria still accounts significantly for the global measles burden.
“The high burden of deaths from measles is in spite of the availability of safe and effective vaccines through our R.I System. Persistently low R.I coverage and relatively low measles follow up have resulted in a population immunity profile that has allowed increased transmission of measles virus among children less than 10 years with resulting morbidity and mortality,” he further said.