It is often said that “A healthy Nation is a wealthy Nation”.
This saying couldn’t have been more appropriate at a time like this in the annals of Kogi State Primary Health Care Development Agency as the State in collaboration with UNICEF and other development Partners scheduled Measles and Meningitis vaccination campaign to run between the 9th and 18th of October, 2020.
To kick start and buttress on sensitization of the public on the importance and necessity of this vaccination campaign, the Executive Director KSPHCDA – Dr Abubakar Yakubu held a press brief on Wednesday 7th October, 2020. See excerpt from his brief:
“Measles is a highly infectious air borne disease caused by the Measles virus through respiratory droplets. It is one of the childhood killer diseases and tends to occur in epidemics. Its mortality rate is higher amongst children less than five years of age who tend to live in overcrowded conditions. As a viral disease, it cannot be treated; rather it can be prevented using the Measles Containing Vaccine (MCV). Measles is a very dangerous disease that spreads widely. It presents with fever, runny nose, cough, redness of the eyes and characteristic body rash. Measles have incubation period of 10 days and it affects children within the age range of 9 months and 15 years. It can lead to complications such as Pneumonia, Corneal opacity, Xeropthalmia, blindness, PEM, PMVE or even death in poorly managed conditions.
Treatment is symptomatic. Prevention is by effective and efficient immunization campaign, strengthening of Routine Immunization, Health education and Vitamin A supplementation.
Secondly, Meningitis is a dangerous infectious disease that affects the coverings of the brain and spinal cord. The cause may be viral, bacterial or fungal. Viral Meningitis is the commonest form of Meningitis. However, in the context of the on-going campaign, bacterial meningitis caused by N. Meningitides (Meningococus) is responsible for the Worldwide epidemics and specifically, the epidemics in meningitic belt of tropical Africa (a zone lying between 5-15 North of Equator characterized by annual rainfall of 300 – 1100mm).
The Organism has 8 serotypes – A, B, C, D, W135, X,Y,Z and 29 – E. Meningitis serotype A and C are largely responsible for large outbreaks of Meningitis in Nigeria and other parts of Africa every year.
The incubation period is between 3 – 4 days. Outbreaks occur during dry season peak and drop sharply at the beginning of rainy season.it affects all age groups but more common between ages 1 -5. Transmission is by airborne droplets and through direct contact of secretions from nasal, oral cavities of infected patients. Low immunity, large population movement, overcrowding such as inhabitants of slums, IDP camps, Prisons, are among others are risk factors that aid wide spread of the disease.
Symptoms are those of fever, headache, dizziness, blurring of vision, neck stiffness, convulsion, loss of consciousness and death.
The complications include visual loss, hearing loss, hydrocephalus, acute renal shut down and death.
Control of Meningitis is basically managing the sick patient with antibiotics, environmental control designed to reduce airborne infection, efficient and effective immunization campaign and surveillance.”
Furthermore, Dr Yakubu stated that over the years Routine Immunization coverages against these diseases have been low resulting to low population herd immunity and increased morbidity and mortality rates in many high risk States. Consequently, in a determined effort to protect our children from deaths and deformity arising from Measles and Meningitis, Kogi State Government in collaboration with NPHCDA and Partners scheduled implementation of Measles and Meningitis vaccination campaigns from Friday 9th – Sunday 18th October, 2020 as an opportunity to provide additional doses of these vaccines to protect our children.
”The objectives of the campaigns are as follows:
- To reduce measles transmission In Nigeria and attain Measles elimination goal of 2012-2020.
- To protect all new birth cohorts in the States of the Meningitis belt against Meningitis
The targeted age groups are as follows;
- Measles vaccination – Ages 9mths – 59mths (866,328 )
- Meningitis A vaccination – Ages 1 – 5 years (815,368 )
- The vaccination campaign will be conducted using various Government approved Health Facilities and designated temporary fixed and mobile centers which would include schools, mosques, churches, markets, motor parks, village squares, town halls, playground and all places eligible target children will be found.
- All vaccines are free and safe; mother and caregivers should avail themselves of this opportunity and make sure their children are vaccinated at any vaccination post nearest to them and also to keep the vaccination cards safe for future use.”
Abdulazeez Yahya – AD NPHCDA and Dr Felix Nkwocha – UNICEF where on hand for support at the event.
A session of questions and answers was thereafter entertained for clarity of purpose and message delivery.