Lagos State government has ascribed increasing number of missed children during routine immunisation exercise as a major factor militating against the eradication of the disease in Nigeria.
Lagos State Commissioner for Health, Dr. Jide Idris, who stated this at a meeting of the State Taskforce on Polio Eradication in his office to review feedback from the Presidential Taskforce Committee on Polio Eradication noted that war against polio can only be won if every eligible child is immunised.
Idris said, "The reason why we are here is to outline our peculiar challenges, review our priority actions, review all micro plans and finalise our operational plans to ensure that every eligible children are reached in our routine immunisation exercises."
The Commissioner who is also the Chairman of the State Taskforce on Polio Eradication outlined the peculiar challenges responsible for the number of missed children and under vaccination to include; absent of children during immunisation, poor performance of vaccination teams, failure of house to house visit, absence of local government taskforce on polio eradication, poor quality of micro plans and insecurity in high risk state amongst others.
"This is why the State Taskforce is meeting to review all micro-plans, ensure training activities are initiated at least three weeks before immunisation plus days (IPDs), revise current supervisory methods to enhance real-time correction on the field and finalise operational plan for closer engagement of traditional leaders," he said.
Idris averred that the state in its drive to ensure that no child is missed during immunisation will implement intensified ward communication strategy including intensified social mobilisation activities and also sustain advocacy with state and local government officials and ensure capacity building on accountability framework.
He said: "Though our immunisation is better than it used to be but we still have challenges we need to tackle especially in the areas of missed children in immunisation exercise and this is why we are engaging our traditional, community and religious leaders in our polio eradication drive."
The commissioner, who reiterated the state government's commitment to ensuring that Lagos remains polio free, noted that the intensification of routine immunisation will be prioritised while challenges militating against successful immunisation campaign will be tackled.
"Our focus is on routine immunisation and that is why we are trying to equip our primary healthcare centres because that is where routine immunisation can actually be carried out successfully," Idris said.
He said that intensification of the routine immunisation strategies like sensitisation of traditional birth attendants and patent medicine vendors to mobilise parents to take their children to the nearest health centre is very essential.
Idris further stated that, re-orientation of midwives in the midwives service scheme facilities, supervisory visit per month by the local government area team to the health facilities, market vaccination as part of outreaches, sensitisation of private health providers, public secondary and tertiary health facilities and ensuring adequate provision of required logistics will also help to ensure a polio free status for the state.