Lagos – Dr Bamidele Iwalokun, Head, Immunology and Vaccinolgy Research Group, Nigerian Institute of Medical Research (NIMR), has urged the Health Promotion Board to address the misconceptions about vaccinable diseases in the society.
Iwalokun made the plea in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Tuesday, in Lagos.
The researcher said that misconceptions about the causes of a disease and preventive measures in addressing vaccinable diseases were still major challenges.
He said that the role of Health Promotion Board in Nigeria was to operate both at the Federal and State levels to promote health and create awareness.
“Most of the health-related issues concerned misconceptions about the causes of a disease, and also preventive measures to address vaccinable diseases.
“For instance, some people believe that for polio vaccine, it is either the manufactures or physicians have put anti-fertility substances into it or pathogens which could affect them.
“Even the vaccination for measles, they believe it does not work and they have to blend with medical plants, together with the vaccine taken to get an effective result.
“Some also believe that their children should be infected naturally to build a life-long immunity, which is not supposed to be.
“So, these misconceptions can best be addressed by our health promotion board by creating awareness and providing the society with adequate information on the vaccines provided and other health related information, “he said.
Iwalokun said that the health promotion board would come up with the behavioural communication change intervention component, and would take up the responsibilities that would improve the health sector.
“The essence is to enable uptake of some of these interventions that government, NGO’s and international donor agencies are providing.
“In most places, we see the ownership of mosquito nets as high as 80 per cent but the rate of usage is still very low and beyond expectation.
“We need to fill this gap by making sure that inventions are ultimately utilised to address our health problems, ‘’ he said.
Iwalokun said that, `Health promotion goes beyond creating awareness or addressing misconceptions in the society, it also deals with advocating for subsidised health services.’’
He urged the board to come up with plans that would be implementable in promoting health, and be more proactive in addressing the poor uptake and interventions in the health sector.
“Most of the time when we look at the socio-demographic characteristics of diseases, we find low education, unemployment, people from strong cultural background and still hold on to their cultural values.
“They do not really understand what orthodox medicine entails, so these are some of the issues that have consistently reformed to be associated with poor uptake and interventions,” Iwalokun said. (NAN)