No fewer than 887,000 children from 0 to 59 months would be targeted in the First Round Outbreak Response on Poliomyelitis in Cross River State.
The Commissioner for Health, Dr. Betta Edu stated this at the official flagging off of the OBR1 exercise at the PCN Primary School, Big Quo Town, recently.
She said the vaccines would help protect children from Polio Virus Type 2, as over 300 cases have been recorded across Nigeria with none in Cross River.
Dr Edu said Polio Vaccines Type 1 and 3 had already been administered, disclosing that Type 2 was showing up again in neighbouring states, and therefore mothers should ensure that they get their children vaccinated.
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“Every day in Cross River State we try to prevent disease outbreak just like we did during the outbreak of COVID-19. We started an early prevention campaign and this is what the Governor, Sen. (Prof.) Ben Ayade has been emphasizing on – disease prevention. As a State, we don’t have polio cases yet but we must not relent because one case in a neighbouring state can spread rapidly to our state, Cross River and affect our children. Our neighbouring states already have one or two cases which mean we’re not safe and must ensure our children under age 0-59 months get the Polio vaccine while we continue to do our best to prevent any outbreak.
“We’ve decided to carry out an integrated approach where children get the Polio vaccination while their mothers and fathers or caregivers who haven’t received the COVID-19 vaccines are vaccinated. Our health workers have been equipped to attend to both adults and children as this is not only limited to Polio and COVID-19 vaccines alone but every other immunization/vaccination process that the child needs to grow and live healthily. Let me charge all health workers on behalf of the Governor, Sen. (Prof.) Ben Ayade that 100% success needs to be achieved in this exercise as our target is to reach out to over 887,000 children aged 0-59 months and their parents .”, she said.
The Commissioner stated that logistics for both water and land ways have been provided to ensure that the over 430 hard-to-reach areas in the State are not left out, adding that very soon drones would begin to deliver vaccines across the state.
While assuring Cross Riverians that the vaccines are safe and free, Dr Edu commended the efforts of the Director-General of Cross River State Primary Healthcare Development Agency (CRSPHCDA), Dr Janet Ekpenyong, health workers, partners, staff of the state ministry of health and CRSPHCDA, the Head Teacher of PCN Primary School Big Qua Town, Mrs. Philip Kamgba as well as mothers for making the exercise a success.
In her remarks, the DG of the CRSPHCDA, Dr. Janet Ekpenyong appreciated God, the Governor, the Commissioner for Health, and the health workers for their efforts which have led to the State remaining Polio free.
Dr Ekpenyong added that a lot of human and capital resources have been put in place to keep the state safe.
“No case of Polio Type 2 in Cross River State even though Nigeria has recorded over 300 cases in recent times. The government is committed to ensuring that no child is left out as I’ll appeal to parents to ensure their kids are vaccinated. We will be going to churches, mosques, markets places, and homes to vaccinate every eligible child and their parents under the new integrated vaccine policy.
The DG appreciated the efforts and leadership style of the Commissioner as she continued to take the lead in all health matters across the country and the state. She acknowledged the hard work and commitment of all partners, health workers, mothers and children, while reiterating the safety and potency of the vaccine.
Goodwill messages were received from the representatives of WHO, Dr. Binam Getachew; UNICEF, Mr. Ephraim Chuckwu; Head Teacher of PCN Primary School Big Qua Town, Mrs. Philip Kamgba.
An overview of the exercise was presented by the State Immunization Officer, Mrs. Joy Chabo. High points of the event were the official flagging off exercise, Polio vaccination of children and Covid-19 vaccination of mothers by the Honourable Commissioner for Health and the DG CRSPHCDA as well as the distribution of toiletries to school children and mothers.