United Nations Children Fund (UNICEF) and the Abia State Primary Healthcare Development Agency (ASPHDA) have urged mothers to take their children to healthcare facilities for immunisation against vacicine-preventable diseases (VPDs).
The agencies gave the advice during a one-day sensitisation meeting with journalists on measles awareness creation on Thursday at Amachara, Umuahia
Dr. Chinagozi Adindu, Executive Secretary of ASPHDA, expressed worry over rapid reduction in clinic attendance by caregivers which had led to rapid drop in immunisation services being accessed amid COVID-19 pandemic.
He said that people seemed to have neglected other child-killer diseases, which were vacicine-preventable, for COVID-19, thereby exposing their children and wards to danger.
“COVID-19 is not the only ailment. We have so many of these VPDs still in our midst.
“We want to encourage our mothers to take their wards to our health facilities to be immunised against VPDs so that in the near future we will not experience outbreak of the other diseases,” he said.
Mr Tivlumun Akpen, the UNICEF Vaccine Security and Logistics Consultant in Abia, regretted that the clinic attendance in the state had dropped due to the pandemic, giving a breakdown of immunisation against measles, he said that none of the 17 Local Government Areas of the state reached 80 per cent coverage in the month of May.
Akpen said that four local government areas including Arochukwu, Isuikwuato, Ikwuano and Ohafia had less than 40 per cent immunisation coverage in the month under review.
According to him, three local government areas including Arochukwu, Ohafia and Obingwa had measles outbreak in May but luckily it filtered out.
He said, “We are having an attendance drop in immunisation coverage which is not good for us.
“The reason for the drop is as a result of the lockdown. There are general feelings that as they cannot go out it means hospitals are closed,” he said.
Mrs. Meg Onwu, the Director, Health Education and Head of Department, Advocacy, Communication and Social Mobilisation at ASPHCDA said the meeting was to create awareness on measles vaccination,
She therefore, urged journalists to use their various platforms to sensitise mothers to visit their health facilities to get their wards vaccinated, to avoid outbreak in the nearest future.