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Measles infects 4,693, kills 13 in Borno

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[FILE] Victims during the outbreak of measles at the Abagena camp of internally displaced persons (IDPs) in Makurdi, Benue State.

• Agency raises concern over apathy to immunisation
• Group disturbed by high infant mortality in Gombe

Borno State Primary Health Care Agency (BSPHCA) has confirmed infection of 4,693 and death of 13 children by measles.

Its Director of Disease Control, Babagana Abiso, told reporters yesterday in Maiduguri that efforts were ongoing to contain the spread of the airborne ailment to 25 council areas.

He said: “Thirteen councils are most affected by measles in 33 wards.”

Consequently, 1.7 million kids are to be immunised against the disease.

Abiso added that the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) and the World Health Organisation (WHO) would provide technical support for the 10-day exercise.

He clarified: “The vaccination exercise will be conducted in two phases, commencing March 21 to 25, 2019 in eight wards of Maiduguri Metropolitan Council (MMC).”

The second phase, according to him, holds from April 6-10 in 25 wards of 12 councils.

To be immunised are children of ages six months to 10 years.

“Immunisation remains one of the most effective ways to protect children from killer diseases,” the director submitted.

The 2017 Nigeria Demographic Health Survey had observed that only 65 per cent of eligible children receive their first dose of vaccine yearly.

The UNICEF Chief of Field Office, Geoffrey Ijumba, pledged the agency’s continued support for the Federal Government in its quest to vaccinate every child against measles.

Urging Nigerians to make their kids available for immunisation, Ijumba added that the disease was the most contagious infections known to humanity and one of the top four child killers worldwide.

In a related development, the Executive Director, Kogi State Primary Healthcare Development Agency
(KSPHCDA), Dr. Abubakar Yakubu, has decried the apathy to immunisation, fearing that the development might make children vulnerable to diseases in the future.

Kicking off the second round of the 2019 Local Immunisation Days (LIDs) yesterday in Obeiba, Okehi Local Council, Yakubu regretted that the huge number of parents and caregivers that began the first leg of the exercise in January refused to complete it.

Also yesterday, the Gombe Project Manager of Save the Children International, Altine Lewi, expressed concern over the high infant mortality rate in the state and the entire North East.

Rounding off the group’s centenary anniversary celebration in the capital, she noted that a 2017 multiple indicator cluster survey showed that the region ranked second to North West in neonatal infant and under-five mortalities nationwide with 33.62 and 115 per 1000 live births.

According to her, Gombe is the chief culprit in the zone even exceeding national averages through its unenviable statistics of 35.62 and 162 per 100 live births.


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