The Lagos State Government has said it is targeting no fewer than 4.5 million children between 0-59 months, irrespective of their immunization status, for free polio vaccine which began on Saturday, 27thFebruary 2016 at various designated centers across the state.
The National Immunization Plus Days (NIPDs) campaign will involve House-to-House, Transit and Fixed Post teams while children at homes, markets, churches, mosques, major car parks and social event venues would be targeted.
The Lagos State Governor, Mr. Akinwunmi Ambode, represented by the Special Adviser on Primary Healthcare, Dr. Olufemi Onanuga disclosed this recently at the flag off ceremony of the February 2016 National Immunization Plus Days (NIPDs) at Ifako-Ijaye Local Government Area.
He noted that Lagos State will mount 752 fixed posts, 2,189 house-to-house and 1,712 transit teams with hours of operations spanning between 8 am-2 pm daily, reiterating that the desire of the present administration to protect and enhance the health and well-being of all children in the state.
While emphasising that the immunization is free, effective and safe with little gifts as incentives for immunized children, Ambode enjoined parents and caregivers to take advantage of the campaign to boost the immunity of their children by immunizing their wards at government designated centers across the state.
The Governor said that his administration has invested a lot in the training of health workers at the State, Local and Ward levels to build their capacities as well as collaborating with International and Non-Governmental Organisations such as WHO, Rotary International, CHAI, JICA, Save-the-Children International and UNICEF to augment the creation of the needed awareness at the community level.
He informed that a coordinated media campaign strategy to sensitize members of the public on the importance and safety of polio immunization has been embarked upon, saying that “We have also contracted state technical facilitators and independent monitors to enable them provide technical assistance and supervisory support to those implementing throughout the campaign period.”
In addition, Ambode revealed that Lagos State has taken giant stride in eradicating the deadly disease from the state since April 2009, making it a 7 year success story.
While underscoring the importance of various interventions by the state in the past which had made it possible to eradicate the deadly disease from the state since April 2009, Ambode recalled that the success recorded in 2015 in increasing the immunity of children was as a result of the improved quality of Supplemental Immunization Activities (SIAs) as well as other interventions such as the Strengthening of Routine Immunization Services.
He also revealed that the State intervened through aggressive drive towards the removal of out-of-stock syndrome and improved outreach services to reach under-served communities, strengthening of Local and International border immunization activities between Lagos, Ogun and Republic of Benin.
Earlier, the Permanent Secretary, Primary Healthcare Board, Dr. Ibironke Shodeinde, who represented the Special Adviser to the Governor on Primary Healthcare, appealed to parents to exploit the opportunity of the free, effective and safe campaign to immunize their children against the dreaded polio disease.
She said that all eligible children will take two drops of the Vaccine with concurrent marking of the left little finger for confirmation of having taken the vaccine.
Other dignitaries present at the flag off ceremony include the Executive Secretary of Ifako-Ijaye Local Government Area, Mr. Oluwarotimi Adeleye; traditional rulers and community leaders.