By Bashir Bello
United Nations Children’s Funds, (UNICEF), on Monday, said about two million people were at risk of meningitis in Katsina State.
UNICEF Country Representative, Peter Hawkins disclosed this during the flag-off of the introduction of Meningitis A vaccine Routine Immunisation in Dutsi Local Government Area of Katsina State.
Hawkins, represented by the Officer in Charge, UNICEF Kano field office, Niyi Oyedokun, said the state in 2018 recorded 1, 321 cases of meningitis across the 34 local government areas of the state.
According to him, “Meningitis is an extremely distressing disease that causes significant loss of life especially in countries located within what is called “the meningitis belt” which consists of almost all the states in Nigeria including Katsina State.
“Katsina, with a projected total population of 8.5 million people has an estimated two million people at risk of meningitis. In 2018, there were 1321 cases of meningitis across 34 LGAs of Katsina State,” Oyedokun said.
The UNICEF Representative, however, harped on the need for continuous sensitisation among people of the state on the importance of the routine immunisation (Meningitis A vaccine inclusive) to prevent their children from the common childhood killer diseases.
“UNICEF is also supporting the state in communicating to caregivers the risk of meningitis and the importance of Meningitis A vaccination.
“UNICEF alongside other development partners supported Katsina State in ensuring that all RI providing frontline health workers have received the requisite training that will enable them to administer this vaccine safely together alongside other vaccines.
“We hope the flag off of the introduction of the Meningitis a vaccine routine immunisation will serve as a laudable milestone in Katsina’s quest to ensure that all its eligible children receive full protection against vaccine-preventable diseases,” Oyedokun said.
Flagging off the introduction of the Meningitis A vaccine routine immunisation and also the maternal, newborn and child health week campaigns, Governor Aminu Bello Masari told the gathering that the campaign which was going on simultaneously in every ward of the 34 local government areas of the state would provide services such as immunisation against childhood killer diseases, Deworming, vitamin A supplementation, screening for malnutrition, birth registration, HIV testing and counselling among pregnant women, childbirth spacing and health education.
The governor also used the occasion to restate the commitment and focus of his government towards strengthening as well as repositioning the health sector of the state to meet the yearnings of the citizens.
In the 2019 budget, Masari said adequate provision had been made for the rehabilitation and upgrading of one primary health care center per ward for the provision of the needed healthcare services at the grassroots level stating that he had assented to the amended law establishing the Primary Health Care Under One Roof, PHCUOR, that will improve coordination, and enhance healthcare service delivery in the state.
Earlier, in his remarks, the Permanent Secretary, Katsina State Ministry of health, Dr. Mustapha Kabir said they were targeting two million children under five years and over 400,000 women who will benefit from the campaign. (Vanguard)