The United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), has placed Ekiti state on Surveillance to prevent an outbreak of meningitis which has killed over 400 persons in some northern states.
The international organisation said although there is no reported case of the outbreak in Ekiti, the organisation is working with experts in the Ministry of Health on the need to be alert.
The UNICEF Representative in Ekiti, Mr Abiodun Olagunju, said this on Thursday, in Ado Ekiti, the state capital, during a stakeholders’ meeting held to discuss the second phase of polio vaccination in the state.
Olagunju said: “Though Ekiti is not within the meningitis belt, we are keeping watch because someone can bring it from the meningitis endemic state to Ekiti.
“UNICEF and World Health Organisation (WHO), are not fond of folding their arms and allowing communicable diseases ravage the land before taking actions. This is not medically wise.
“The target for the polio vaccination which will be administered for children below age five is 100 per cent in Ekiti. We recorded 87 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”, he added.
Giving the overview of the first phase of the anti-polio campaign held in the state, the State Immunization Officer, Mrs Christianah Ajimati, said a total of 579,704 children were immunized with the 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 for the exercise, with 95 per cent, while the least amount, with about 66 per cent, was recorded in Ekiti West.
The expert also noted that the second phase of the fight against polio would kick off between May 6 and 9, 2017, in order for Nigeria to maintain her polio-free status conferred by the United Nations.
Ajimati expressed delight that the country, particularly Ekiti state, has overcome the barrier of indigenous beliefs that had been considered a great impediment, preventing many of the 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.
“Nigeria has been listed a polio-free nation and we should not recede backward on the ladder by allowing our children to be killed by polio and other preventable diseases,” he urged.