Group canvasses law on immunisation
Worried by the rate of children who suffer from Polio disease in Nigeria as a result of their parents’ refusal to get them immunised, a group has called on the Federal government to enact a law that would compel each parent to get his child immunised or face the consequences.
The group, Association of Civil Society Organisations Working on Malaria, Immunisation and Nutrition (ACOMIN), Ogun State chapter disclosed in Abeokuta yesterday that though immunisation had reduced the death rate of victims of Polio from two to three million in the country annually, the figure could be significantly less if more children are llowed to be immunised.
ACOMIN is amalgamation of 40 Non-Governmental and Civil Society Organisations.
An executive member of the state chapter of the group, Mrs. Olufumilayo Olatunji who spoke during an interactive session with journalists regretted that despite all persuasions and enlightenment programmes, many parents, especially those from the Northern part of the country have consistently refused to allow their children to be immunised.
“In view of this, I don’t think it would be out of place for the government to enact a law that would compel all parents to allow their children or wards to be immunized. I strongly support enactment of such law because it would be in the best interest of the country”, she said
Olatunji disclosed that those eligible for immunisation are children within the age bracket of 0-5 years, explaining that such group “is about 20 percent of Nigeria’s population”.
She lamented that, despite the fact that the Polio Vaccines are free of charge, “Some parents still insist that they prefer their herbs”.
Olatunji who spoke in the presence of Executive members of ACOMIN
sought for media assistance in enlightening parents on the need to get their children immunised, explaining that the Polio Vaccines are available at all health centres and government clinics throughout the country for people to access.
For the way forward, Olatunji who is also the Programme Co-ordinator for Women Advocacy on HIV Prevention and Other Diseases (WAHPOD) suggested that government must ensure easy access to “affordable” Polio Vaccines.
She also advised that the health system must be strengthened, “But more importantly I strongly support the idea that a law must be passed to compel every parents to get his or her child immunised.