Polio: Lagos to give Executive Order for access into private schools, gated streets

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Lagos State government on Tuesday said it would soon give an Executive Order that will compel operators of private primary schools in the state to give unrestricted access to polio eradication officers to enter their premises and administer anti-polio vaccines on their wards so as to protect them against the killer disease.

Lagos State deputy governor, Dr. Obafemi Hamzat, gave this resolve when he received in audience, the Incident Manager, National Polio Operation Centre (NPOC), Dr. Usman Adamu, who paid him a courtesy call, saying it was based on state government’s determination to eradicate polio for the healthy living of children in the state.

The visit had been made to reflect on the sudden outbreak of the disease around Makoko, Itire and Maracana Canals in the state and how urgent step must be taken to stop the spread into other parts of the state.

The deputy governor, who noted that one of the six pillars of the development strategy of the present administration is Health and Environment, assured that the state government in few days to come would give the Executive Order as recommended by the team of the visiting World Health Organization (WHO).

Besides, Hamzat disclosed that the Executive Order when it is issued would also cover gated streets in every part of the state, urging all landlords members of various Community Development Associations (CDAs) to join hands with government by ensuring that gates were opened and to allow easy access of the polio officers to their streets in order for them to administer the vaccines on their children.

According to the deputy governor, administering vaccines on pupils in public schools alone would not solve the problem as pupils in both private and public schools are products of the same community as they play and relate together after the school hours, urging parents and operators of private primary schools in the state to cooperate with the state government in its efforts at eradicating menace completely from the state.

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He further disclosed that for the exercise to get to the grassroots, all the chairmen of the 20 Local Government Areas (LGAs) and 37 (LCDAs) would be carried along and enlightened to mobilise their communities for the exercise and educate them on the importance of regular vaccination for the eradication of the disease in our communities.

“Just be very assured of the state government commitments to this fight against polio, we are of the opinion that the health sector should get it right and we must ensure that the polio exercise agenda is achieved in the interest of our children,” he said.

Dr Adamu, while briefing the deputy governor on the purpose of the visit, explained that there was an urgent need to give an update on the status of the ongoing polio eradication and routine immunization exercise in the state.

The NPOC incident manager, while raising concerns on the incidences of two cases of polio in Makoko, Itire and Maraccana Canals, said it was worrisome that Nigeria was one of the three countries in the world that had not completely eradicated polio in spite of its consequences on the growing health of the children.

According to him, the sudden outbreak in those communities necessitated the need for the ongoing immunisation exercise in the state, saying the effort was to prevent further outbreak.

While urging government to intensify campaign on the enlightenment of the citizenry on the danger of polio and the need to get children of 0-5 vaccinated against the dreadful disease, Adamu commended the state government for setting up of a Special Taskforce on Polio Eradication chaired by the deputy governor, noting that it was a clear indication that the state government was not playing lip service to the health needs of its citizens.

The NPOC manager, while expressing happiness that the state government had also approved funds for the next round of immunisation in the state, promising that his team would work assiduously to ensure that the exercise recorded significant success in the state.

The team leader of the WHO Immunisation Nigeria, Dr. Fiona Braka, allayed the fears on the implication of a child getting double immunisation, saying that the vaccines were boosters and supplement, even as he declared that there was no health implication if a child got vaccinated and after two days got another.