The United Nations Children’s Fund, UNICEF, has said it is paying a close watch on Ekiti State as a precautionary measure to forestalling the outbreak of meningitis in the state.
Over 800 deaths have so far been recorded nationwide, as the federal government and other agencies battle to stem the tide particularly in the northern part of the country.
The international organization said although there had been no reported case of the disease in Ekiti, it was working with experts in the health ministry to ensure watchfulness and avert any eventuality.
The UNICEF representative in Ekiti, Abiodun Olagunju, made this known in Ado Ekiti, on Thursday during a stakeholders’ meeting held to discuss the second phase of polio vaccination in the state.
“Though, Ekiti is not within the meningitis belt, but we are keeping watch because someone can bring it from the meningitis endemic state to Ekiti,” Mr. Olagunju said.
“UNICEF and World Health Organisation are not fond of folding their arms and allowing communicable diseases ravage the land before taking actions, this is not medically wise.”
On the polio vaccination exercise, he said the target for children below age 5 is 100 per cent in Ekiti, adding that 87 per cent was recorded during the first phase .
“Let me also enlighten our people that the vaccines for polio, measles, meningitis, hepatitis B are available in all the health centres in Ekiti, so we are on ground to fight communicable diseases to safeguard the health of our people,” said Mr. Olagunju.
Reviewing the first phase of the anti-polio campaign held in the state, the State Immunization Officer, Christianah Ajimati, said a total of 579,704 children were immunized with polio vaccine during the exercise held in March 2017 out of the projected 667, 145
She said Emure Local Government had the highest turnout of children with 95 per cent for the exercise with Ekiti West coming last with 66 percent.
She said the second phase of the fight against polio would kick off between May 6 and 9, saying the fight against communicable disease was total for Nigeria to maintain the polio-free status conferred by United Nations.
Mrs. Ajimati expressed delight that Nigeria, particularly Ekiti, had overcome the barrier of religion that had been a great impediment stopping many parents from presenting their children for the oral vaccine.
“We want to commend our donor agencies and Ekiti State government for the release of funds. Timely release of funds and kits really helped this exercise,” she said.
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