31 January 2013

Nigeria: Polio Immunisation Not Enough - Experts

Lagos — MEDICAL experts have said periodic immunisation is not enough to eradicate polio and other preventable child killer diseases, even as the next round of National Immunisation Plus Days, NIPDs, is scheduled to begin nationwide in February.

Speaking, Lagos State Commissioner for Health, Dr. Jide Idris, said routine immunisation was more sustainable in the fight against polio.

According to him: "This periodic exercise is not the best and that is why our target is routine immunisation, because you don't necessarily have to wait for periodic exercise before you take your children for immunisation.

"Routine immunisation is more practical and standard. It is necessary for children to be immunised as at when due without waiting for periodic exercise and that is why we have immunisation schedule on our leaflets."

Idris noted that to maintain a polio free state, efforts were on to strengthen "routine immunisation which is more sustainable and cost effective than the periodic campaigns."

Meantime, no fewer than 4,376,609 children under the ages of 0 - five years, are to be immunised in Lagos during the NIDs exercise billed to hold February 2-5, 2013.

Idris explained that the exercise was aimed at reducing and eliminating vaccine preventable diseases, including polio.

He said already the state had sourced about five million doses of oral polio vaccine through the National Primary Healthcare Development Agency.

The commissioner urged parents and care-givers to ensure that their children were taken to primary health care centres, PHCs, to receive all scheduled immunisations before they were one year old.

He said polio "is a viral disease and it is transmitted through contaminated food and water. Many infected persons have no symptoms, but they excrete the virus in their faeces which other people can be contract through contamination."

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