In Akwa Ibom Health commissioner urges parents to immunise children against measles

He said different control measures had been deployed by the ministry to reduce the spread of the virus as well as the number of lives lost to measles and other childhood killer diseases.

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The Akwa Ibom Government has called on parents in the state to present their children for the five-day immunisation exercise against measles scheduled to take place from Jan. 28 to Feb. 1.

The State Commissioner for Health, Dr Dominic Ukpong, made the call during a media parley in Uyo on Saturday.

Ukpong said that the best way to prevent measles was to prepare the children for an appropriate dose of the vaccine. "Those expected to be immunised are children from nine months to five years of age.

''Already, 1,640 vaccination posts have been created in the 328 electoral wards of the 31 local government areas across the state,'' he said.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that Ukpong was represented by Dr Godwin Ebukthe, the State Director of Public Health in the ministry.

He said different control measures had been deployed by the ministry to reduce the spread of the virus as well as the number of lives lost to measles and other childhood killer diseases.

Ukpong listed the measures to include measles immunisation, campaigns, surveillance and clinical management.

The commissioner urged parents, guardians and care givers to present their children for the periodic measles immunisation exercise, adding that they must complete all routine immunisation exercises before age one.

He commended the state government, United Nations Emergency Funds (UNICEF) and World Health Organisation (WHO) for their support over the years.

The Social Mobilisation Officer in the ministry, Mrs Evelyn Eyo, gave an overview of the measles situation in Nigeria and in the Diaspora, reminding parents that vaccination was free.

Eyo said the exercise would also be of help to those who were born after the last measles campaign in 2013.

She called for adherence to personal hygiene such as hand washing, proper feeding and good accommodation for children.

She cited malnutrition and poor ventilation as some factors responsible for low immunity in children, making them susceptible to diseases.

Eyo enumerated the symptoms of measles to include high fever, cough, running nose, sneezing, loss of appetite, red eyes and rashes on the face and body.

“If measles is not properly managed, it can lead to such complications as diarrhoea, ear infection, brain infection, pneumonia, blindness and death,” she said.

A World Health Organisation Consultant, Mrs Gift Ntuk, said having put in place all necessary logistics for a widespread campaign, media houses were expected to give the exercise 100 per cent coverage.

She, however, appealed to schools, churches, traders and other stakeholders , to support the exercise by allowing their children from nine months to five years old to be vaccinated.

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