Kaduna integrates meningitis “A” vaccine into routine immunisation ― Deputy Gov

Dr Hadiza Balarabe, Kaduna State Deputy Governor has said that the State Government had integrated meningitis “A” vaccine into routine immunisation program to protect the vulnerable and unprotected in the society.

She made the disclosure at the flag-off of the programme at Gyallesu Primary Healthcare Centre in Zaria, on Tuesday.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the event is tagged: “Introduction of Meningitis “A” Vaccine into Routine Immunisation in Kaduna State.”

She explained that Nigeria and some countries lie in what is known as “Meningitis Belt”, adding that countries within the belt often experience Meningitis epidemic.

“And this epidemic occurs in a fashion that mimics a circle, meaning that it occurs once in every ten years. With this knowledge, we are now duty-bound to protect the vulnerable and unprotected within our society.

“Vaccination still remains an important weapon for the prevention and control of meningitis outbreak,” she said.

Balarabe described the introduction of meningitis conjugate vaccine into the routine immunisation as another giant stride made possible through collaboration between the state government and other agencies.

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She said the collaboration was meant for better health of citizens of Kaduna State through the Primary Healthcare Agency.

Balarabe said more than 1.2 million of bacterial meningitis were estimated to occur annually worldwide, adding that in Nigeria, over 10,000 cases occur with about 1,000 deaths.

She said, though, the disease affects old persons, those within the ages of five to 14 were mostly affected, stressing that without treatment, cases prevalence would be as high as 70 per cent.

“It has been proven that one in five survivors of this disease may be left with permanent complications including hearing loss, neurological disabilities and so on.

“Our children have gone deaf, some growing with complete learning difficulties among other health challenging issues.

“There was a report from the National Centre for Disease Control that indicated that about 914 new cases with 15 deaths in 15 states of the country were reported last year.

“In 2018, there were 364 recorded deaths from meningitis out of 4,516 that were affected,” she said.

Balarabe assured that the vaccine was safe, adding that in spite of its cost of 1,000 US Dollars per dose, children would get it free-of-charge.

She said the vaccine was a single dose injection, saying that children of nine months would be administered the vaccine.

“Therefore, I urge parents, guardians and other caregivers to seize this opportunity afforded and avail their children for this vaccine.

“We want every child in the state to be fully protected from diseases that threaten their growth. The state government will continue to seek an enduring partnership that will ensure a disease-free and protected citizenry.

“The state government will maintain a cordial and harmonious working relationship with its development partners willing to create an atmosphere where a reduction in incidences of diseases is possible,” Balarabe assured.

The Deputy Governor recalled that in the last four years, the government had made efforts to expand the reach of routine immunisation within the state.

According to her, this is done by procuring and distributing solid direct drive refrigerator to healthcare facilities apart from daily immunisation session in secondary facilities as well as some primary healthcare facilities.

“We are not also relenting in making sure that we complete the upgrade we started in facilities and ensuring that these facilities have adequate staff.

“This is to provide the minimum healthcare package and services and bring them as close as possible to our people.

“I have been informed that the campaign tagged the Meningitis Immunisation Catch-up Campaign will take place within the month of November 2019 and as a state, will join other states of Nigeria,” she noted.

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