By Oluwatope Lawanson
Lagos – The Lagos State Government, on Tuesday inaugurated a task-force on polio eradication and immunization; and charged the people to cooperate with the team.
The Deputy Governor of the state, Dr Obafemi Hamzat, said at the inauguration that non-compliance with the task-force was not only against humanity, but an act against God.
The News Agency of Nigeria reports that the inauguration was held at the deputy governor’s office, Alausa, Ikeja.
Hamzat said that the responsibility of a government lied in meeting the needs of Lagos people rather than at the behest of pressure from officials to accept immunisation.
He urged clergymen (Muslims and Christians) to see routine immunisation as an integral part of their sermons to congregants.
“Clergymen represent a veritable platform to ensure voluntary compliance.
“Therefore, l urge them to encourage their congregations to embrace routine immunisation as a core focus of their preaching,”
The deputy governor assured that in spite of influx of people to the state, Gov. Sanwo-Olu’s administration would continue to partner with community leaders to ensure those coming in were immunised.
He urged local government chairmen and members of the committee, to ensure that the people embraced the programme, adding that each should come up with an action plan for their localities.
“Nigeria should not be in the league of nation’s challenged by polio.
“The imminent removal of Nigeria from the list should lead to deepening of efforts,” Hamzat said.
Dr. Abdulrahman Olatunji, member Rotary International, urged the state government to address issues such as ignorance and funding; as well as ensure access to `hard to reach areas’.
Olatunji also noted that Lagos efforts were challenged by local and international migrants.
In his remarks, Dr Tayo Lawal, the Permanent Secretary, Lagos State Primary Health Care Board, said that vaccination was the fundamental human right of every child to live a healthy and fulfilled life.
“The target of the Lagos State Government is to achieve 95 per cent immunisation coverage each year, though the nationally accepted coverage is 85 per cent.
“More efforts are in place to ensure high coverage such as supplementary immunisation campaigns where children under the age of five are adequately vaccinated,’’ Olatunji said.
NAN reports that the 18-man taskforce team is headed by the deputy governor.
Others are representatives from local governments, ministries of health, local government and community affairs, women affairs and poverty alleviation, the media, donor agencies and the National Orientation Agency.