The Kogi Government on Friday inaugurated the introduction of Meningitis ‘A’ (MEN A) Vaccines into the state’s Routine Immunisation (RI), as part of her efforts to protecting Kogi children against childhood killer diseases.
Gov. Yahaya Bello, at the inauguration ceremony in Lokoja, described the introduction of MEN ‘A’ vaccines into the state’s RI program, as a landmark development because it was in line with the nation’s quest to end preventable child deaths.
He commended the development partners for their support and the wonderful initiative, stressing that it was also inline with the new direction administration of the governor.
He said the state has a line-up health programmes towards reducing the heart wrecking maternal, and child mortality indices which had made Nigeria to be ranked second worldwide in maternal and child mortality.
”It is a statistics that often bothers stakeholders in the nation’s health sector under the three tiers of government.
”Nigeria alone cannot end preventable child deaths, the reason we must be very grateful to our development partners for their collaborative efforts and achievements so far.
”Even though child mortality is still at alarming rate, but a lot of achievements had been accomplished in reducing this alarming health indices.
”The MEN ‘A’ vaccine would help in no small measure to further reduce the poor health statistics that has rendered children liable to deaths before age five.
”We have improve immunisation coverage in Kogi from 38 per cent in 2016 to about 70 per cent in the first quarter of 2019.
”Though not acceptable yet, but our target is to increase coverage to above the 90 per cent standard, for all our children to have unhindered access to immunisation. It is the cheapest way to reduce maternal and child mortality,” Bello said.
Represented by Dr Saka Audu, Kogi Commissioner for Health, Bello promised to continue to key into all innovative programmes to reduce preventable child deaths, while advising mother’s to bring out there children for Immunisation.
The governor noted that he had approved and released the N100 million counterpart fund required for the state to enjoy the basic healthcare provision fund from CBN.
Dr Abubakar Yakubu, Executive Director, Kogi Primary Healthcare Development Agency (KSPHCDA), said the agency was committed to ending preventable child deaths and enhance quality healthcare delivery to the people at the grassroots.
He defined Meningitis as ”Inflammation of brain and spinal cord membranes, typically caused by an infection, usually caused by a viral infection but can also be bacterial or fungal”.
”We are marking yet another developmental mile stone in our agency and the state to improve the health status of our children through the introduction of the MEN ‘A”.
”Every year, more than 10, 000 people suffered meningitis in Nigeria, and 1000 of this usually resulted to deaths. Children are the most vulnerable group.
”Unfortunately 10 to 20 per cent of victims, suffered permanent disabilities inform of blindness, deafness, cerebral palsy, among others,”he said.
He mentioned the risks factors of meningitis to include overcrowding, poor sanitation, dry adverse weather conditions, while urging the people to avoid all the risk factors in order to prevent meningitis.
He said the signs and symptoms of meningitis in children included: refusing food, feeling feverish or cold, vomiting, drowsiness, stiff neck, curved back, loud or harshly cry, seizures and loss of consciousness.
He said that meningitis vaccine would be given to children at 9 months to prevents the disease, saying any suspected cases should be reported to the nearest health facilities as soon as possible.
He encouraged parents to bring out their children to participate in the routine immunisation.
He advised parents to always keep their children’s health cards safe and present them at every immunization visit, urging them to ensure completion of all routine immunisation for their children before the age of two.
The representatives of some of the development partners were present at the occasion, such as WHO, UNICEF, NPHCDA, among others.