Ten children at Wasa Internally Displaced Persons, IDPs, camp in the Federal Capital Territory, FCT, have died as a result of measles outbreak last week.
This was disclosed by the Executive Secretary of FCT Primary Health Care Board, Dr Rilwanu Mohammed, ahead of the commencement of the National Immunisation Campaign, and added that the measles outbreak eventually affected about 41 children in the FCT.
Further, he said the FCT Health Board was targeting 900, 000 children, including children in the Internally Displaced Camps, where a lot of children may have been missed out because of insurgency.
Minister of Health, Professor Issac Adewole, has promised that federal government would take the measles campaign to the door steps of all Nigerians irrespective of their place of residence in the country.
Adewole, the first minister of health to grace such occasion, officially flagged – off the National Measles Campaign yesterday in Abuja, saying that the government was determined to eliminate measles by 2030.
‘’ We are determined to eliminate measles from Nigeria by 2030, the flag-off is in the urban area but as expected, this administration is committed to taking the campaign to the doorstep of every Nigerian.
‘’We want to reach out to people in the rural areas to strengthen coverage of health care to everybody, that’s why we said the Universal Health coverage should be even in Primary Health Care level and we will target every Nigerian, irrespective of where they live. The target is to take it right to your doorstep,’’ he emphasised.
Meanwhile, the World Health Organisation, WHO, Country Representative, Dr. Ruiz Vas, who was represented by Dr. Fiona Braka, noted that measles remain a highly infectious disease that has caused significant deaths among children in developing countries.
‘’In the developed world, over 75% of measles cases may have one or more complications such as pneumonia, bronchitis, blindness and other related diseases particularly in malnourished children.’’
‘’In 2014 over 115,000 million deaths were recorded globally and this translates to 314 deaths every day. Measles vaccine has being in use for over 50 years and its safe, effective and free. Over the past 15 years, measles vaccination has prevented an estimation of 17million deaths globally, making measles vaccine one of the most cost effective intervention in public health.
‘’The strategies for measles elimination include high routine vaccination coverage at the sub national level at over 80% at every sub national locality. It includes at least achieving 90% coverage with supplemental vaccination campaign and at sensitive faith based surveillance in the states,” he said.
Though he said over 90 percent reduction in measles burdens compared to 2000 estimates has been achieved in African region, he noted however, that the treat remains.
Braka said WHO recommends that every child should receive at least 2 doses of measles vaccine, adding that Nigeria and many countries have reached many children through mass vaccination campaigns.
Dr Ado Muhammed, Executive Director, NPHCDA, said the measles campaign was going beyond primary health care institutions because government had made provision for immunisation in out-reach places such as market places, churches, mosques, transit points and high density populated communities.
The five- day measles campaign was targeted at children from the ages of six months to five years and government to reach 85 percent success.