Oyo State has recorded its first case of yellow fever, joining Anambra, Ekiti, Rivers, Ebonyi and Borno, the league of states having a yellow fever campaign in the country.
World Health Organisation’s State Technical Officer, Measles and meningitis, Dr Akin Akinbajo, at a stakeholders’ meeting on Supplementary Immunisation Campaign at Oyo State Ministry of Health, said the yellow fever case was in a 19-year-old student of the Ajayi Crowder University.
Dr Akinbajo said the yellow fever case was confirmed in Dakar and the affected student has now fully recovered and back in school.
“One case of a confirmed yellow fever case is an outbreak because of the fatality of the disease. We got its news last one week and one of the samples sent is confirmed to be yellow fever.
“I personally was in the field with the Oyo State Ministry of Health personnel on Friday and Saturday for a community survey at Moniya. We had sampled 138 households, but the good news is that the child has fully recovered.
“When we say yellow fever, we do not mean the person is going to die, but the chance of death is high, just like Ebola fever, there are survivals of yellow fever.”
He stated that although Oyo State had responded adequately to curtail the yellow fever outbreak, the outbreak was an attestation to Oyo State’s low yellow fever vaccination coverage put at 38 per cent.
Dr Akinbajo said although one shot of yellow fever vaccine confers lifelong protection, many mothers are not taking their children for immunisation due to poverty and ignorance on the benefits of immunisation.
“Yellow fever and measles vaccines are both administered the same day at nine months. So, you should know that if measles is low, definitely yellow fever will be low and that’s why we are also having outbreaks of yellow fever.
“Nigeria has a large population and we are at risk of vaccine-preventable disease; it has low routine immunisation coverages for yellow fever (39 per cent) and measles (42 per cent). There were 4,932 confirmed cases of measles in the last one year and 139 confirmed cases of yellow fever reported in 2018.”
He said the recurrent outbreaks of measles, yellow fever, and meningitis were due to many states, Oyo inclusive, not achieving set percentage coverage during past immunisation campaigns.
However, he declared that measles second dose for children at 15 months were being introduced to Nigeria’s routine immunisation schedule and will be rolled out in two phases, one being in Oyo and other 16 southern states of the nation in the last quarter of 2019.
Dr Akinbajo said the proposed measles campaign was to consistently contribute to the reduction of the measles burden in Nigeria, hence checkmating measles seasonal outbreak especially in northern Nigeria.
Earlier, Executive Secretary, Oyo State Primary Healthcare Board, Dr Babatunde Olatunji, had stated that the stakeholders’ meeting was to engender support for health interventions and policies, including immunisation, at the grass roots.