The National Primary Healthcare Development Agency (NPHCDA) says 26.7 million children aged one to seven years are at risk of meningitis in 25 states, including the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), of federation.
An official of the agency, Adetunji Adeoye, stated this during the flag off ceremony of introduction of meningitis vaccination (Men A) into routine immunisation given to nine months old children on Friday in Akure, the Ondo State capital.
Mr Adeoye said vaccines are the only way to prevent serious disease like meningitis, adding that it remains a great health challenge in Nigeria.
He explained that Men A vaccine would prevent children against the disease, assuring that it is safe and effective without any negative effects on children.
According to him, health workers have been trained to diligently administer the vaccine to all eligible children.
The state Commissioner for Health, Wahab Adegbenro, said the state government had not relented in ensuring that all residents, especially children, were in good health.
Mr Adegbenro noted that measles, meningitis and yellow fever could kill children but said that there is vaccination to combat them.
The commissioner stated that the vaccination would be given to eligible children free of charge in all government health facilities in the state; hence there was no excuse for parents not to make their children available for the immunisation.
According to him, the vaccine has been tested and proven safe for children’s usage.
The commissioner said that the state government was doing a lot in the sector, working and collaborating with the federal government.
“Our contributory health insurance scheme will commence hopefully in November this year and this will afford everyone access to good healthcare services with just a token.
“Under the scheme, pregnant women and children aged five years below will be given privilege to access healthcare services free of charge,’’ he stated.
Mr Adegbenro, therefore, commended the federal government for making the vaccines available, appreciated NPHCDA, UNICEF and World Health Organisation (WHO) for their support, asking them to do more.
Similarly, the Special Adviser on Health Matters to the state governor, Ajibayo Adeyeye, commended all the development partners for their contributions in eradicating the killer diseases.
Mr Adeyeye, who was represented by the Executive Secretary, Ondo State Primary Healthcare Development Board, Francis Akanbiemu, however solicited more awareness on the vaccine.
The special adviser commended the state governor for investing heavily in the sector toward achieving a healthy society.
The representative of UNICEF, Tunde Ayoade, said no eligible children should be denied from taking the vaccine.
Mr Ayoade urged health workers to ensure good relationship with their communities for proper and adequate vaccination.
The Caretaker Chairman of Akure South Local Government Area, Gbenga Olaniyi, also commended the federal and state governments as well as all development partners for the success of the exercise.