By Steve Oko
Abia Primary Health Care Development Agency (ABPHCDA) in conjunction with United Nations International Children’s Emergency Fund (UNICEF); World Health Organization (WHO); and the National Primary Health Care Development Agency (NPHCDA), Tuesday flagged-off rotavirus vaccination in the state.
The exercise which was flagged off at the Aba North Council headquarters, is expected to continue simultaneously at the 17 LGAs in the state until November 29.
It is aimed at stoping the spread of the virus which according to experts, spreads easily among infants and young children and can cause severe watery diarrhoea, vomiting, fever, and abdominal pain.
Flagging off the vaccination, the Deputy Governor, Sir Ude Oko-Chukwu, appealed to parents to take the vaccination seriously in view of the deadly nature of the rotavirus.
The Deputy Governor who was represented by Commissioner for Youth Development, Charles Esonu, also appealed to the health workers to ensure every nook and cranny of the state was covered.
He said Abia State Government places high premium on the health of its citizens particularly children.
In a remark, Abia State Coordinator of WHO, Bala Nasiru said that the flag-off of the vaccination was very timely and urged all parents and health workers to be ambassadors of the vaccination and spread the message.
He thanked the Abia State government for taking the vaccination process very seriously and making the moves necessary to begin the vaccination.
Speaking at the event, Commissioner for Health, Dr Joe Osuji, promised full support to the vaccination to ensure its success.
The Commissioner represented by the Permanent Secretary Ministry of Health, Dr Franca Ekwueme, urged parents to make their children available for vaccination to reduce death among children.
She described Rotavirus as a very contagious virus that makes life difficult for children but can only be prevented through vaccination.
The Commissioner explained that the Federal Government introduced the vaccine so that it would be administered to children at six weeks, ten weeks and fourteen weeks to reduce the death caused by the virus among our under two years.
Dr Faisal Shuaib, the Executive Director and Chief Executive Officer of the National Primary Health Care Development Agency (NPHCDA) expressed happiness in working with the Abia State government on health issues.
Shuaib represented by Mrs Lami Lebechukwu commended the Abia State government for their being very supportive of health-related issues and expressed joy that the deadly Rotavirus has been adedd to routine immunization given to Nigerian children.
“I urge Abia to pay attention to their routine immunization. We want to catch up with other countries of the world and we want to achieve the vaccination of many of our children by August 2023. I wish to plead with Governor to be serious with routine immunization. Let government encourage women and children to come out and access this vaccine.”
Dr Chinagozi Adindu, Executive Secretary of Abia Primary Health Care Development Agency (ABPHCDA) said the state had received about 187,000 doses of the vaccine.
She further said that Abia had 919 immunization sites, and urged parents to take advantage of the exercise to get their children vaccinated.