Anambra State Government Flags-off Second Phase Of Polio Immunization Campaign In Awka


…Emerges first in Polio Vaccination in South East as 2.3m children received Vaccine

By Mmaduabuchi Onwumelu

The Anambra State Government says 2.3 million children under the age of 0-59 months received Polio vaccine in the first phase of the Outbreak Response Exercise (OBR-I), in September.

Dr Afam Obidike, the state’s Commissioner for Health made this known at a news conference on Thursday to flag-off the second phase of the Polio immunization campaign (OBR-II) in Awka.

The campaign is being implemented by the Anambra State Primary Health Care Development Agency, ASPHCDA in partnership with the World Health Organisation, WHO and other partners.

Obidike said the first phase of the campaign which held from September 16 to 19, 2023, targeted over 1.5 million children but it recorded 140 per cent coverage as over 2.3million children got vaccinated.

Obidike said the second phase  vaccination was still in response to the outbreak of Polio Virus in a neighboring town, Nkanu West in Enugu state.

“We encourage parents and caregivers to present their children to be immunized to strengthen their immunity against the virus. We are also integrating routine immunization during this four-day exercise as well as birth registration for children to help the state government with data to plan for their healthcare. So, it is an all encompassing campaign.

“The vaccines are safe and free of charge. We are hopeful that the campaign will be successful like we had in the first phase. We urge the media to take the news out there so that people can understand the need to vaccinate their children against disease. Vaccinated children live healthy and longer”, he said.

While appreciating WHO and other partners for their support, the Commissioner urged residents to report any health worker who demands money to administer the vaccines.

Also speaking, Dr Adamu Abdul-Nasir, state Coordinator, WHO, congratulated Anambra for exceeding the target and recording top in the south east in the first phase of the vaccination exercise (OBR-1)

Abdul-Nasir said: ‘We want to commend the state government for its political will and proactive measures in preventing the polio virus from spreading to the state.

In this second phase, WHO is supporting the state with logistics and allowances for over 9,000 personnel who will be going to homes, churches, markets, streets and schools to administer the vaccines. We are also supporting hard-to-reach communities to ensure that all eligible children get vaccinated.”

Earlier in her address, Mrs. Chisom Uchem, Executive Secretary, ASPHCDA, said the state had taken delivery of over two million doses of the polio vaccine for the OBR-II campaign.

Uchem said the vaccination would start on Saturday, November 11, 2023 and end on November 14, 2023 in the 21 local government areas of the state.

“These few days, we will go all out to the nooks and crannies of the state to strengthen and surpass what we recorded in the first phase of the vaccination”, she said.

Contributing, the Chairman of National of Nigeria Association of Nurses and Midwives, NANNM expressed delight with the achievements of the state in the health sector.

Photo: Dr. Afam Obidike during the press conference in Awka on Thursday.

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