By Esenvosa Izah
Lagos – As the National Immunisation Plus Days (NIPDs) enter the second day on Sunday, parents are encouraged to present their children for immunisation against polio.
A News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reporter monitoring the exercise on Sunday in Lagos reports that health workers administered booster doses of the Oral Polio Vaccine (OPV) to children at homes.
NAN reports that the health workers, who administered the vaccine, also raised awareness of the programme among parents.
The four-day exercise, which started on March 25, involved house-to-house, transit and fixed post teams between the hours of 8:00 a.m and 2:00 p.m. daily.
One of the health workers, Mr Adebayo Rotimi, told NAN that many parents had been responding and bringing out their children for vaccination.
“We have no challenge reaching out to the parents; they are opening their doors for us to immunise their children,’’ Rotimi said.
Another health worker, Mrs Taiwo Adeyemi, however, said some parents still showed reluctance to immunise their children.
“Some mothers I approached said they prefer to take their children to the health centre to be vaccinated.
“I enlightened them about the importance of getting the vaccine and encouraged them to visit the health centre.
“We want to ensure that as many children as possible get vaccinated; we will still visit schools to administer the vaccine since the programme is still on till Tuesday, March 28,“ she said.
A mother, Mrs Joyce Mbanefo, said that the programme would encourage more parents who could not visit the health centres to have their children immunised.
“I am happy that the health workers can come to my door step to administer the vaccine.
“Not many parents are even aware of the programme; for instance, I did not know that there were booster doses of the polio vaccine to be taken.
“We still need more enlightenment for this programme so that we can immunise our children against the disease,“ she said.
Another parent, Mr Julius Opoku, 45, said he had heard about the programme and ensured that he brought out his daughter to be immunised.
Opoku said that the state was doing well in terms of enlightenment of the programme and urged government to raise more awareness.
“The health workers do educate us when I took my daughter to the health centre for routine immunisation.
“It was there I learnt that the NIPDs will take place; it is good that our children are immunised against polio so that the disease will be eradicated for good,’’ he said.
Dr Olufemi Onanuga, Special Adviser on Primary Healthcare to Gov. Akinwunmi Ambode of Lagos State, said polio eradication remained on the front burner of all relevant stakeholders.
In a statement on the exercise, Onanuga said Nigeria made significant progress in Polio Eradication Programme in 2015.
“This culminated in the delisting of Nigeria from the unenviable club of the polio endemic countries in the world in September 2015.
“However, it is worthy of note that some parts of the country are still reporting cases of Wild Polio Virus.
“The unfortunate discovery of three cases of WPV in Borno in August 2016, coupled with the influx of migrants to Lagos State on a daily basis.
“The importance of participating in the various immunisation campaigns such as this, will in no small measure contribute to the sustenance of our success story,’’ Onanuga said.