The Enugu State Government said it is targeting 20 per cent of the state population, representing at least one million children under five years, for vaccination against wild poliovirus.
George Ugwu, the executive secretary, Enugu State Primary Health Care Development Agency (ENS-PHCDA), disclosed this in Enugu during a sensitisation meeting with stakeholders and partners on the forthcoming statewide mass polio vaccination.
Mr Ugwu said: “Enugu State does not have any case of wild polio but the exercise is to ensure we do not have a resurgence or suspected case”.
According to him, “What we intend to do is to emphasise prevention and total elimination of polio in the state forever.”
The ENS-PHCDA boss said the agency had trained and kitted 2,834 vaccinating teams, comprising 1,643 home-to-home teams, 780 special teams and 411 fixed teams.
“The exercise will reach all nooks and crannies of the state, covering our 17 council areas, 291 wards and over 3,000 settlements.
“The vaccinators have been mandated to look out for every child and ensure no child is left out.
“We are going to homes, schools, churches, malls, parks, markets, farms as well as all living areas, where a child can be found.
“We are appealing to parents, teachers, caregivers and family members to support this exercise and ensure no child known to them is left out of the oral polio vaccine,” he said.
Responding, the chief Imam of Nsukka Central Mosque, Yakubu Omeh, promised that the Muslim community would ensure that all children under five found in all mosque and Islamic schools were vaccinated.’
“Education is key and today you have enlightened us more on why polio must be totally eliminated.
The vice-chairman, National Association of Proprietors of Private Schools, Enugu State, Lily Okechukwu, said the association would fully mobilise all the private schools and inform parents about the exercise to ensure full compliance.
“The association is assuring the agency of maximum cooperation in order to get our children fully protected from the dreaded polio disease in the state,” Ms Okechukwu said.
Jonathan Agbo, the secretary-general of the Christian Association of Nigeria, South-east, said the body would ensure through all its communication platforms that churches in the state comply with the vaccination.
“I have already sent out e-mail(s) and WhatsApp messages to churches to ensure they comply because of the seriousness the vaccination deserves,” Mr Agbo, who is also the Archdeacon of Ogui Archdeaconry in Anglican Communion in Enugu, said.
Other concerned parties at the meeting included local and international health partners, representatives of state ministries of education, health, gender affairs and planning.
The rest were representatives of different ethnic communities in the state, traditional rulers and town union executives, amongst others.
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